Parliamentary procedure
Produced in partnership with Carl Gardner
Parliamentary procedure

The following Public Law guidance note Produced in partnership with Carl Gardner provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Parliamentary procedure
  • Types of Bill
  • Government Bill procedure
  • Pre-legislative scrutiny
  • First reading in the House of Commons
  • Second reading
  • Committee stage
  • Report stage
  • Third reading
  • Introduction and first reading in the House of Lords
  • more

Types of Bill

Most Bills are Public Bills, aimed at a change the law as it applies to everyone. Most Public Bills are government Bills, introduced by ministers either as part of their planned legislative programme, or in response to events.

A Public Bill introduced by an MP or a Member of the House of Lords who is not a government minister is called a Private Member’s Bill. Relatively few Private Members’ Bills become law. It is important to keep Private Members’ Bills distinct from Private Bills, discussed briefly below.

Some Bills aim at changing the law in a way that only affects particular individuals or organisations, rather than changing the general law affecting everyone. These are Private Bills. Each year a number of those are promoted in Parliament by outside organisations. For example, Transport for London (TfL) promoted the Transport for London Bill, aimed at giving TfL further financial and management powers. This Bill became the Transport for London Act 2016. Another example is the University of London Bill, which became the University of London Act 2018. Private Bills are subject to special procedures.

A few Bills resemble both Public and Private Bills in that they would both affect the general law, but have special legal effects on particular bodies. These are called Hybrid Bills. A recent example of Hybrid Bills