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Introduction to Legislation and Process of Law
making in UK:
1. Introduction
In democracy the view is that laws should be
made by the elected representatives of society.
For that purpose of legislation in UK there is a
parliament.
The laws passed by the parliament are known as
acts of parliament or statutes, and this source of
law is usually referred to as statute law.
About 60 to 70 acts are passed each year.
Legislation is usually proposed by a member of
parliament in the form of a bill according to the
legislative priorities of government and passed
by a lengthy procedure through both houses of
parliament to become an act of parliament.
There are three organs of a state; parliament,
executive and judiciary under the doctrine of
separation of powers where the job of
parliament is to make laws, executive to
implement those laws and judges to interpret
the laws.
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All laws passed by the parliament are always
given a specific name and mainly includes
written principles.
2. Derivation of term legislation
The term legislation is derived from two Latin words,
Legis meaning Law and Latum meaning to make. So
legislation means the process of making of law.
3. Meaning of legislation
According to Salmond:
Legislation is that source of law which consists in
the declaration of legal rules by a competent
authority”.
4. Why law making or legislation by parliament is
necessary?
Customs very rarely create any new law today.
Decisions by the judges can only create law for
specific point in each case decided.
So in order to cover every particular point of law
which is not covered by the customs and
judiciary it is necessary to have a much more
comprehensive method of law-making known as
legislation.
5. Influences to the Parliament:
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Parliament is the supreme law-making body in
the United Kingdom, and can make or amend
laws as they wish.
Most ideas for new laws and bills come from the
government, as they are the ones who are
elected to rule or govern the country.
However there are some other people apart
from the government who also contribute and
influence the parliament to make laws and the
main influencers are:
a) The Law commission
Law commission is an independent and
permanent body set up by the Law
Commissions Act 1965.
Its role is to keep the laws of England and
Wales kept checked up and also to
suggest any changes where it is needed.
b) Pressure groups
Pressure groups are group of people who
have similar interests or ideas in making
changes in the laws.
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They try to influence government and
parliament to pass laws on matters
which interest them.
c) The Media
By spreading the news faster not only through
TV or newspapers but nowadays through
internet and especially social media it plays a
very important role in influencing the
parliament.
6. Amendments and Repeal:
Previous legislation may also need to be
changed or added to or even completely
abolished.
Old laws may become out of date and need to
be repealed so that they have no longer legal
effect.
A good example of this was an Act passed to
raise money for rebuilding of St. Paul’s
Cathedral in London after great fire of London
in 1666. This Act was of no use after the
rebuilding of the cathedral so it was repealed in
2012.
7. Institutions of parliament:
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{Parliament=House of Commons+ House of Lords+
Crown}
Parliament consists of House of Commons and
House of Lords. Both the houses must vote in
the favour of a Bill before it can become a new
Act of parliament.
After the bill gets approval from both the
houses it is presented before crown or monarch
and after the approval from monarch the bill
becomes an Act and is ready to be enforced.
So all three institutions of parliament must
approve the bill so that it could become a law.
8. House of Commons:
The people who sit in the House of Commons
are referred to as members of parliament (MPs).
These members of the House of Commons are
elected by the public.
MPs sitting in the HC must have won an election
in the constituency they represent.
9. House of Lords:
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The people sitting in the House of Lords are not
elected as that in the HC. House of Lords
consists of:
A maximum of 92 hereditary peers
About 700 life peers
The 26 most senior bishops in the
Church of England.
Note that the 12 most senior judges used to sit
in the House of Lords, but they no longer do so.
They are now separate from parliament and sit
only as judges in the Supreme Court.
Life peers:
The people who had served the country and
were thought to be suitable members of the
House of Lords were made life peers.
This title of life peerage is awarded by the
monarch on the advice of prime minister.
10. Pre-legislative process:
a) Green papers:
Before proposing a bill in the parliament a
green paper is published on the internet for
the public to comment and give
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recommendations on law proposed by
government.
A green paper is a consultative document in
which the government’s view is put forward
with proposals for law reform.
b) White papers:
Following the green paper the government
will then publish white paper which will
include the changes as a response to the
opinions of the public.
c) Drafting a bill :
Before entering into parliament a bill is to be
drafted by the lawyers in the civil services who
are known as parliamentary counsel to the
treasury.
11. Types of bills
a. Private members bill
The bills can also be presented by individual
MPs.
In each parliamentary session 20 MPs are
selected by balloting to present the bill.
The time for debate of private members bill is
limited and usually being debated on Fridays,
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so only first six or seven members in the ballot
have realistic chance of introducing a bill on
their chosen topic.
Relatively few private bills become laws, but
there have been some important laws passed
by as the result of such bills. For example;
The Abortion Act 1967, which legalized
abortion in UK
The Marriage Act 1994, which allowed
people to marry in any registered place,
not only in registered offices or religious
buildings
The Household Waste Recycling Act
2003, which places local authorities
under a duty to recycle waste.
b. Public bills:
A public bill involves matters of public
policy which will affect either the whole
country or a large section of it.
Public bill reflects the agenda or
manifesto of the government in power.
Some public bills which later on became
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Acts are Criminal Justice Act 2003 and
Constitutional Reforms Act 2005.
c. Private bills:
However not all bills are aimed at
changing the law for entire country; some
are designed to pass the law which will
only affect individual people. Such bills
are called as private bills.
An example of this was the University
College London Act 1996 which was
passed in order to combine the Royal
free Hospital School of Medicine, the
Institute of Neurology and the Institute
of Child Health with University College of
London.
The Law making process in Parliament:
1. First Reading:
This is a purely formal stage.
In first reading name and main aims of the
bill are read out.
There is no debate on the bill and there will
be no vote in the first reading.
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2. Second Reading:
This is the main debate in the whole bill in
which MP’s debate the principles behind the
bill.
This debate usually focuses on the main
principles rather than the smaller details.
Those MP’s who wish to speak in the debate
must catch the Speakers eye, since the
Speaker controls all debates and no one may
speak without being called by the Speaker.
After the end of the debate voting takes place
which may be either verbal or formal.
In verbal voting Speaker of the House asks
the members as a whole that how they vote
and the members shout out ‘Aye’ or ‘No’.
If it is clear that nearly are members are in
agreement, either for or against, there is no
need for a formal vote.
If it is not possible to judge whether more
people are shouting ‘Aye’ or ‘No’ there will
be a formal vote.
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In formal voting, members of the house leave
the chamber and go outside to cast the vote.
There must be a majority in favour of the bill
to progress any further.
3. Committee stage:
At this stage, a detailed examination of each
clause of the Bill is undertaken by a
committee of between 16 to 50 MP’s.
This is done by the committee chosen for this
purpose known as standing committee.
In committee stage each and every clause of
the bill is agreed upon, changed or removed
by the standing committee.
However, the whole House will sit in the
committee for finance bills.
4. Report stage:
At the Report stage, the amendments made
in the committee stage will be debated and it
may be accepted or rejected.
If there were no amendments at the
committee stage then there will be no report
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stage and the bill will go straight for third
reading.
Report stage is also referred to as
Consideration in the commons.
5. Third reading:
This is the final vote on the bill.
This stage is just a formality as the Bill passed
all the stages unlikely to fail at this stage.
The debate can only be held at this stage if at
least six MP’s request it.
6. Later stages:
Both the houses must agree on the text of
the Bill before it can become an Act.
This means that if the bill is amended in the
second house, it must return to the first
house for those amendments to be
considered.
The first house can reject the amendments,
make changes to them or suggest
alternatives.
A bill may move backwards and forwards
between the two houses before agreement is
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reached, so this stage is sometimes called the
‘ping pong’.
7. Royal assent:
The final stage where the crown formally
gives approval to the bill and it becomes an
Act of the parliament.
This is now just a formality and under the
Royal Assent Act 1967, the crown will not
even have the text of the bills to which the
crown is assenting and will only have the
short title.
The last time that a crown refused to assent
was in 1707, when Queen Anne refused to
assent the Scottish Militia Bill.
HOW MUCH TIME REQUIRED TO PASS A
BILL?
The time taken to go through all these stages
depends on the length of the bill and how
controversial it is. An emergency bill may be
passed in a matter of days, whereas a larger bill
may require some time.
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The Powers of House of Lords to reject a bill:
The powers of the House of Lords are
limited by the Parliaments Act 1911 and
1949.
These Acts allow a bill to become a law
even if the House of Lords rejects it.
The principle behind the Parliaments Act is
that the House of Lords is not an elected
house, and its function is to refine and add
to law rather than oppose the will of the
democratically elected House of Commons.
There have been only four occasions when
these Acts have been used to by-pass the
House of Lords, after it had voted against a
bill.
Since 1949 the parliaments Act have been
used only on four occasions which are;
War Crimes Act 1991
European Parliamentary Elections Act
1999
Sexual Offences Act 2000
Hunting Act 2004
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Commencement of an Act:
Once a bill has passed all the stages it becomes an
Act of Parliament and will come in force on
midnight of that day, unless another date has
been set in the Act.
Legislative process at a glance:
Green paper- Consultation document on
possible new law
White paper- governments firm proposal for
new law
Bill- drafting of the bill
First reading- formal introduction of the bills
in the parliament which usually starts from
the House of Commons.
Second reading- Main debate on bills principle
Committee stage- Clause by clause
consideration of the bill by selected
committee.
Report stage- Committee reports suggested
amendments back to the HC.
Third reading- Final debate on the bill.
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Same process in the House of Lords.
Royal Assent- a formality.
Conclusion:
After discussing the whole topic of legislation
we may conclude that parliamentary law is
supreme over other forms of law in England and
Wales. This means that an Act of parliament can
completely overrule any custom, judicial
precedent or any previous Act of parliament.

Unformatted Attachment Preview

Introduction to Legislation and Process of Law making in UK: 1. Introduction • In democracy the view is that laws should be made by the elected representatives of society. • For that purpose of legislation in UK there is a parliament. • The laws passed by the parliament are known as acts of parliament or statutes, and this source of law is usually referred to as statute law. • About 60 to 70 acts are passed each year. • Legislation is usually proposed by a member of parliament in the form of a bill according to the legislative priorities of government and passed by a lengthy procedure through both houses of parliament to become an act of parliament. • There are three organs of a state; parliament, executive and judiciary under the doctrine of separation of powers where the job of parliament is to make laws, executive to implement those laws and judges to interpret the laws. • All laws passed by the parliament are always given a specific name and mainly includes written principles. 2. Derivation of term legislation The term legislation is derived from two Latin words, Legis meaning Law and Latum meaning to make. So legislation means the process of making of law. 3. Meaning of legislation According to Salmond: “Legislation is that source of law which consists in the declaration of legal rules by a competent authority”. 4. Why law making or legislation by parliament is necessary? • Customs very rarely create any new law today. • Decisions by the judges can only create law for specific point in each case decided. • So in order to cover every particular point of law which is not covered by the customs and judiciary it is necessary to have a much more comprehensive method of law-making known as legislation. 5. Influences to the Parliament: • Parliament is the supreme law-making body in the United Kingdom, and can make or amend laws as they wish. • Most ideas for new laws and bills come from the government, as they are the ones who are elected to rule or govern the country. • However there are some other people apart from the government who also contribute and influence the parliament to make laws and the main influencers are: a) The Law commission • Law commission is an independent and permanent body set up by the Law Commissions Act 1965. • Its role is to keep the laws of England and Wales kept checked up and also to suggest any changes where it is needed. b) Pressure groups • Pressure groups are group of people who have similar interests or ideas in making changes in the laws. • They try to influence government and parliament to pass laws on matters which interest them. c) The Media By spreading the news faster not only through TV or newspapers but nowadays through internet and especially social media it plays a very important role in influencing the parliament. 6. Amendments and Repeal: • Previous legislation may also need to be changed or added to or even completely abolished. • Old laws may become out of date and need to be repealed so that they have no longer legal effect. • A good example of this was an Act passed to raise money for rebuilding of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London after great fire of London in 1666. This Act was of no use after the rebuilding of the cathedral so it was repealed in 2012. 7. Institutions of parliament: {Parliament=House of Commons+ House of Lords+ Crown} • Parliament consists of House of Commons and House of Lords. Both the houses must vote in the favour of a Bill before it can become a new Act of parliament. • After the bill gets approval from both the houses it is presented before crown or monarch and after the approval from monarch the bill becomes an Act and is ready to be enforced. • So all three institutions of parliament must approve the bill so that it could become a law. 8. House of Commons: • The people who sit in the House of Commons are referred to as members of parliament (MPs). • These members of the House of Commons are elected by the public. • MPs sitting in the HC must have won an election in the constituency they represent. 9. House of Lords: • The people sitting in the House of Lords are not elected as that in the HC. House of Lords consists of: ➢ A maximum of 92 hereditary peers ➢ About 700 life peers ➢ The 26 most senior bishops in the Church of England. • Note that the 12 most senior judges used to sit in the House of Lords, but they no longer do so. They are now separate from parliament and sit only as judges in the Supreme Court. Life peers: • The people who had served the country and were thought to be suitable members of the House of Lords were made life peers. • This title of life peerage is awarded by the monarch on the advice of prime minister. 10. Pre-legislative process: a) Green papers: • Before proposing a bill in the parliament a green paper is published on the internet for the public to comment and give recommendations on law proposed by government. • A green paper is a consultative document in which the government’s view is put forward with proposals for law reform. b) White papers: • Following the green paper the government will then publish white paper which will include the changes as a response to the opinions of the public. c) Drafting a bill : Before entering into parliament a bill is to be drafted by the lawyers in the civil services who are known as parliamentary counsel to the treasury. 11. Types of bills a. Private members bill • The bills can also be presented by individual MPs. • In each parliamentary session 20 MPs are selected by balloting to present the bill. • The time for debate of private members bill is limited and usually being debated on Fridays, so only first six or seven members in the ballot have realistic chance of introducing a bill on their chosen topic. • Relatively few private bills become laws, but there have been some important laws passed by as the result of such bills. For example; ➢ The Abortion Act 1967, which legalized abortion in UK ➢ The Marriage Act 1994, which allowed people to marry in any registered place, not only in registered offices or religious buildings ➢ The Household Waste Recycling Act 2003, which places local authorities under a duty to recycle waste. b. Public bills: • A public bill involves matters of public policy which will affect either the whole country or a large section of it. • Public bill reflects the agenda or manifesto of the government in power. Some public bills which later on became Acts are Criminal Justice Act 2003 and Constitutional Reforms Act 2005. c. Private bills: • However not all bills are aimed at changing the law for entire country; some are designed to pass the law which will only affect individual people. Such bills are called as private bills. • An example of this was the University College London Act 1996 which was passed in order to combine the Royal free Hospital School of Medicine, the Institute of Neurology and the Institute of Child Health with University College of London. The Law making process in Parliament: 1. First Reading: • This is a purely formal stage. • In first reading name and main aims of the bill are read out. • There is no debate on the bill and there will be no vote in the first reading. 2. Second Reading: • This is the main debate in the whole bill in which MP’s debate the principles behind the bill. • This debate usually focuses on the main principles rather than the smaller details. • Those MP’s who wish to speak in the debate must catch the Speaker’s eye, since the Speaker controls all debates and no one may speak without being called by the Speaker. • After the end of the debate voting takes place which may be either verbal or formal. • In verbal voting Speaker of the House asks the members as a whole that how they vote and the members shout out ‘Aye’ or ‘No’. • If it is clear that nearly are members are in agreement, either for or against, there is no need for a formal vote. • If it is not possible to judge whether more people are shouting ‘Aye’ or ‘No’ there will be a formal vote. • In formal voting, members of the house leave the chamber and go outside to cast the vote. • There must be a majority in favour of the bill to progress any further. 3. Committee stage: • At this stage, a detailed examination of each clause of the Bill is undertaken by a committee of between 16 to 50 MP’s. • This is done by the committee chosen for this purpose known as standing committee. • In committee stage each and every clause of the bill is agreed upon, changed or removed by the standing committee. • However, the whole House will sit in the committee for finance bills. 4. Report stage: • At the Report stage, the amendments made in the committee stage will be debated and it may be accepted or rejected. • If there were no amendments at the committee stage then there will be no report stage and the bill will go straight for third reading. • Report stage is also referred to as Consideration in the commons. 5. Third reading: • This is the final vote on the bill. • This stage is just a formality as the Bill passed all the stages unlikely to fail at this stage. • The debate can only be held at this stage if at least six MP’s request it. 6. Later stages: • Both the houses must agree on the text of the Bill before it can become an Act. • This means that if the bill is amended in the second house, it must return to the first house for those amendments to be considered. • The first house can reject the amendments, make changes to them or suggest alternatives. • A bill may move backwards and forwards between the two houses before agreement is reached, so this stage is sometimes called the ‘ping pong’. 7. Royal assent: • The final stage where the crown formally gives approval to the bill and it becomes an Act of the parliament. • This is now just a formality and under the Royal Assent Act 1967, the crown will not even have the text of the bills to which the crown is assenting and will only have the short title. • The last time that a crown refused to assent was in 1707, when Queen Anne refused to assent the Scottish Militia Bill. HOW MUCH TIME REQUIRED TO PASS A BILL? The time taken to go through all these stages depends on the length of the bill and how controversial it is. An emergency bill may be passed in a matter of days, whereas a larger bill may require some time. The Powers of House of Lords to reject a bill: • The powers of the House of Lords are limited by the Parliaments Act 1911 and 1949. • These Acts allow a bill to become a law even if the House of Lords rejects it. • The principle behind the Parliaments Act is that the House of Lords is not an elected house, and its function is to refine and add to law rather than oppose the will of the democratically elected House of Commons. • There have been only four occasions when these Acts have been used to by-pass the House of Lords, after it had voted against a bill. • Since 1949 the parliaments Act have been used only on four occasions which are; ➢ War Crimes Act 1991 ➢ European Parliamentary Elections Act 1999 ➢ Sexual Offences Act 2000 ➢ Hunting Act 2004 Commencement of an Act: Once a bill has passed all the stages it becomes an Act of Parliament and will come in force on midnight of that day, unless another date has been set in the Act. Legislative process at a glance: • Green paper- Consultation document on possible new law • White paper- governments firm proposal for new law • Bill- drafting of the bill • First reading- formal introduction of the bills in the parliament which usually starts from the House of Commons. • Second reading- Main debate on bills principle • Committee stage- Clause by clause consideration of the bill by selected committee. • Report stage- Committee reports suggested amendments back to the HC. • Third reading- Final debate on the bill. • Same process in the House of Lords. • Royal Assent- a formality. Conclusion: After discussing the whole topic of legislation we may conclude that parliamentary law is supreme over other forms of law in England and Wales. This means that an Act of parliament can completely overrule any custom, judicial precedent or any previous Act of parliament. Name: Description: ...
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