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Ya - Issue File - how to make a law (UK)

posted by richard

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Ya - Issue File - how to make a law (UK)
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How to make a Law in the UK - The path to a climate change law
Reproduced with kind permission of Friends of the Earth, 2007

Most UK-wide laws are made in the Houses of Parliament in London. Parliament spends a lot of time considering a Bill before finally agreeing it and before it is put into practice. Although it seems complicated and time-consuming it’s part of a democratic process which has existed for hundreds of years.

Hello Bill
Most Bills are put forward by the Government. Often the Government will set out its plans and ask people’s views on them. This is called a consultation.

Based on the feedback the Government will provide more detail in the Bill that it introduces to Parliament. The first time that a Bill is announced (usually in the House of Commons) is called the First Reading. At the Second Reading, which usually happens two weeks later, MPs get a chance to debate and discuss the general principles of the Bill. They will then vote to decide whether the Bill is one that Parliament should discuss further or simply reject.

The nitty-gritty
Next the Bill is given to a group of MPs chosen to sit down together in a committee to examine the detail of the Bill and suggest changes, which are called amendments.

The committee reports back to the House to give all MPs the chance to suggest further amendments to the Bill. This is the Report Stage.

The Third Reading is the final chance for MPs to debate whether or not to pass the Bill after all amendments have been made.

Passing it over
Once the House of Commons has agreed on it, the Bill is passed to the House of Lords, in order to get a “second opinion”. If the Lords agree with the House of Commons the Bill becomes a law. If they make amendments they send the Bill back to the Commons until both Houses agree...

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