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An Act of Parliament in Bretherland is a statute (commonly and mistakenly called a law) enacted by the parliament of the United Kingdom of Bretherland. An Act is a bill that has received approval from both Houses of parliament and agreed to by the reigning monarch. An Act may come into force immediately upon being approved, or on a specified date or in stages. Bills can be proposed by the government or by private members (known as private members bills) although primacy is given to the government in these cases and as such limits are put on how many bills can be introduced by private members, both to stop parliament being clogged up by a flurry of bills that need to be seen to and to stop malicious proposition of bills to slow down the progress of government.


BillsEdit

An Act of Parliament starts off as a bill, which in turn can start off as a government bill or a private members bill. Government bills are proposed by the current executive, each bill is sponsored by at least one Ministry which is responsible for writing it up into a form in which it can be proposed to parliament, these bills can start off as green papers or white papers. Green papers are briefings issued by either the cabinet office or the relevant Ministry detailing various legislative options in dealing with a particular issue. White papers are briefings issued by either the cabinet office or the relevant Ministry detailing a clear statement of intent regarding how the government plans to legislate to deal with a particular issue. Private members bills are proposed by a Member of parliament that is not a member of the current executive, during the early part of a parliamentary session prospective bills are proposed (without the main body having been written but with the long and short title sorted), then Members may make short cases for and against certain bills in debates after which a ballot occurs where each Member of parliament has two votes which they must cast for different bills, the five most favoured bills are then allowed to be proposed in the current parliamentary session.

Before a bill can be proposed to begin its legislative journey, it is required by law to undergo a period of consideration and consultation. This is normally covered with government bills when they issue a green paper or white paper and allow the parliamentary committee to overlook these and provide advice. Private members bills normally prove that they have undergone a similar process by either making a small briefing on the bill they aim to write and allowing the parliamentary committee to overlook it and provide advice or by a special rule that is supposed to make it easier for private members bills to get into the legislative process which is by scheduling a debate in the House where Members may provide advice or even opposition. When a bill is finally formed and the main body is written and it is proven that a period of consideration and consultation has been undergone the bill may be submitted to the public bill office so it may begin its legislative journey.

The clerk of legislation (the highest member of the public bill office) will make a number of checks and may make minor alterations to the bill before it begins its legislative journey:

  • Checks will be done to confirm that the bill complies with the rules of the House
  • Checks and alterations may be done to ensure the long title covers everything within the bill
  • Alterations may be done so that every provision requiring expenditure or levying taxes is highlighted and printed in italics
  • Checks will be done to check whether the bill affects the royal prerogative and ensure that this is identified if so
  • Checks will be done to confirm that the bill is not a duplicate of any bill which has been introduced

Once these checks are made the bill will be given to the respective speaker of the House from which the Member or Peer proposed it to be displayed in parliament on the soonest day it can for its First Reading.

In difference to the procedure in the House of Members, the House of Peers does not take part in the system of balloting for 5 private members bills, they instead may freely propose private members bills (after having undergone the same scrutiny as those in the House of Members) however they receive two days of debate for proposal, should the bill fail to gain proper sponsorship (currently at least 10% or 8 of the Peers) then it may not be put through the legislative system. The limit for the amount of private members bills that may be put through the system in a parliamentary session is 10 so it leaves room for 5 private members bills to begin in the Peers.

ProcedureEdit

First ReadingEdit

Basic procedure:

  • Bill presented in House of origin
  • No debate occurs
  • No vote occurs
  • Second Reading date set
Lasting one day

The First Reading is a formality in which no debate or vote occurs. The proposer of the bill, the supporters of the bill along with the short title of the bill are read out to the House by the Speaker of the House and then an order is given for the bill to be printed. The prints are dispersed amongst the House for all the members to read before the Second Reading. It is also during this reading that a date is set for the Second Reading by the Speaker of the House with advice from the House, normally the Second Reading occurs less than two weeks after the First Reading with government bills occurring sooner than private members bills.

Bills that solely concern taxation or government spending, as opposed to changes in public law must start in the House of Members, as it is given primacy in these matters. Likewise bills that concern the judicial system, law commissions or consolidation must start in the House of Peers, as it is given primacy in these matters.

As it reads on the order paper:

First Reading
1(number of legislative journey) SHORT TITLE OF BILL [no debate]
Proposers Name
Long title of bill.
reading, no debate, no decision.

Second ReadingEdit

Basic procedure:

  • Debate occurs
  • Vote occurs
  • Committee type and date set
Lasting two days

The Second Reading is a debate on the general principles of the bill followed by a vote. This is the opportunity to debate the core principles of the bill rather than individual clauses therefore should opposition occur here it is a challenge of the principles of the bill. Normally a government bill passes its second reading, should a government bill fail to pass through this stage it is considered a major defeat. The debate opens with a short statement from the proposer (or a member chosen by the proposer if in the other House) followed by a response by either a corresponding member of the opposition or government. The debate normally lasts around a day, being ended by the speaker either late on the first day of the Second Reading or early on the second day, followed by the speaker announcing a vote during which no debate can happen, the vote lasts only a few hours.

If there are more ayes than noes then the bill may pass onto the Committee Stage, if not then the bill may not continue and may not become part of the law. After the vote is decided, should the motion have passed, the Speaker announces what type of committee shall be considering the bill with advice from the House and who shall provide the committee members depending on whether it will be a Standing Committee or Select Committee. For bills in the House of Peers, it is always a Standing Committee.

As it reads on the order paper (day of debate):

Second Reading
1(number of legislative journey) SHORT TITLE OF BILL
debate, no decision.
debate may last for a day.

As it reads on the order paper (day of vote):

Second Reading
1(number of legislative journey) SHORT TITLE OF BILL
no debate, decision on second reading.
decision may last for a few hours.

Committee StageEdit

Basic procedure:

  • Consideration of each clause
  • Amendments tabled
  • Votes on each clause and amendment
Lasting two days

The Committee stage is governed by five members from the House concerned, including the proposer, and takes place not in the House but in the Committee Chamber. When the committee enters the chamber, no one else may enter and they alone deal with the a consideration of the bill. There are two types of Committees that are used to consider a bill:

  • Standing Committee
A Standing Committee is a committee constituted for a specific bill, its membership reflects the strength of parties in the House. It's members are composed of a seat awarded to the proposer of the bill, then four seats assigned to parties proportional to their membership in the House for their leaders to award.
  • Select Committee
A specialised committee designed to deal with a bill from the perspective of a certain Ministry that is concerned with the bill. It's members are composed of a seat awarded to the proposer of the bill, then two seats to be awarded by the Minister of the government Ministry and two seats to be awarded by the Shadow Minister of the opposition.

The type of committee that will be dealing with the consideration of the bill will have been decided in the Second Reading with the specific composition having been decided in the days before it. The committee is always chaired by the proposer who alone may propose amendments to the bill under the advice of the other committee members.

On the first day of the committee the bill is read and amendments are proposed by the chair, the committee may debate with each other and raise issues of consideration as well as raise points of interest to certain groups. On the second day the chair adjourns the consideration of each clause and may make a final statement before the vote begins. When the vote begins (which lasts a few hours), each member may vote on each clause and each amendment. All clauses that receive a majority vote from the committee will stay, all amendments that receive a majority vote from the committee shall replace the clause it was intended to, whether or not the clause received a majority vote and all amendments that create new clauses that receive a majority vote from the committee shall become part of the bill. As the committee does not occur in either House it is not placed on either House's order paper.

Report StageEdit

Basic procedure:

  • Consideration of all amendments
  • Tabling of further amendments
  • Votes on further amendments
  • Third Reading date set
Lasting one day

The Report Stage occurs directly after the Committee stage back in the House, it is a debate and consideration of the amendments by all of the members of the House where further amendments may be tabled and voted upon. The debate opens with a short statement from the proposer (or a member chosen by the proposer if in the other House) followed by a response by either a corresponding member of the opposition or government. Throughout the debate further amendments may be proposed by any member of the House and then voted upon at any time by the members of the House throughout the day, towards the end of the day the speaker calls the debate to an end and consideration to a close and further amendments with successful votes are added to the bill. After the speaker calls the debate to an end, they set a date for Third Reading with advice from the House, this normally happens less than a week after the Report Stage.

As it reads on the order paper:

Report
1(number of legislative journey) SHORT TITLE OF BILL
consideration, tabling, decision on amendments.

Third ReadingEdit

Basic procedure:

  • Debate occurs
  • Vote occurs
Lasting two days

The Third Reading is a debate on the final text of the bill as amended, followed by a vote. This is the opportunity to debate the actual content of the bill of the bill rather than the principles like in the Second Reading. The debate opens with a short statement from the proposer (or a member chosen by the proposer if in the other House) followed by a response by either a corresponding member of the opposition or government. The debate normally lasts around a day, being ended by the speaker either late on the first day of the Second Reading or early on the second day, followed by the speaker announcing a vote during which no debate can happen, the vote lasts only a few hours. If there are more ayes than noes then the bill may have passage.

In the case of passage moving the bill into the other House for the first time, the bill is presented to the speaker of the other House to be presented at the soonest date for its First Reading. In the case of passage moving the bill from the other House to the House of origin, the bill is presented for a stage formally called 'Passage' where the amendments made by the other House are considered and voted upon, if the bill is passed without amendments then it goes for Royal Assent; if the bill is passed with amendments then it returns to the other House for Passage; if it is not passed then the bill may not continue and may not become part of the law.

As it reads on the order paper (day of debate):

Third Reading
1(number of legislative journey) SHORT TITLE OF BILL
debate, no decision.
debate may last for a day.

As it reads on the order paper (day of vote):

Third Reading
1(number of legislative journey) SHORT TITLE OF BILL
no debate, decision on passage.
decision may last for a few hours.

PassageEdit

Basic procedure:

  • Consideration of all amendments
  • Tabling of further amendments
  • Votes on further amendments
  • Vote occurs
Lasting two days

Passage is a debate and consideration of the amendments made by the other House (or the House of origin) after Third Reading, followed by a vote. The debate opens with a short statement from the proposer (or a member chosen by the proposer if in the other House) followed by a response by either a corresponding member of the opposition or government. Throughout the debate further amendments may be proposed by any member of the House and then voted upon at any time by the members of the House throughout the day, towards the end of the first day or early the second day the speaker calls the debate to an end and consideration to a close and further amendments with successful votes are added to the bill. This is followed by the speaker announcing a vote during which no debate can happen, the vote lasts only a few hours.

Should the bill have been amended and received more ayes than noes then it goes to the other House (or the House of origin) and goes through Passage again there considering the new amendments. Should the bill have not been amended and received more ayes than noes then it goes for Royal Assent. Should the bill receive more noes than ayes in any case then the bill may not continue and may not become part of the law.

As it reads on the order paper (day of consideration):

Passage
1(number of legislative journey) SHORT TITLE OF BILL
consideration, tabling, decision on amendments.
consideration and decision may last for a day.

As it reads on the order paper (day of vote):

Passage
1(number of legislative journey) SHORT TITLE OF BILL
no debate, decision on passage.
decision may last for a few hours.

Royal AssentEdit

Basic procedure:

  • Presentation of bill to Monarch
  • Advice presented to Monarch
  • Monarch reads and considers bill
  • Bill returns to the House of origin
Lasting until the Monarch considers the bill

Royal Assent is where the bill is presented to the Monarch, Ministers then give advice to the Monarch and the Monarch considers the bill. When the bill finally gets approved by both Houses of Parliament, members of the Privy Council take the bill to the Monarch and present it to them. After a day of personal consideration, Ministers of the government may write short letters of advice to the Monarch about whether to give assent to a bill or not. After the advice is received, the Monarch may spend at most a week deciding upon whether or not to grant assent. When the Monarch has signed the bill, it is returned as soon as possible to the House of origin for a small debate, this is normally not much more than a simple congratulations on the assent of the bill if it is granted assent however if it is refused assent then debate is normally much more active. Should the bill be granted assent and made into an Act of Parliament then the archiving of the Act begins.

As it reads on the order paper (day of return to House of origin):

Return of Bill
1(number of legislative journey) SHORT TITLE OF BILL
debate.
debate may last for a day.

ImplementationEdit

It is not the responsibility of parliament to enforce an Act of Parliament, instead that is the responsibility of the corresponding government Ministries. Should a Ministry need to take action to ensure that an Act is practically implemented then they are part of the process of implementation. Another part of implementation is where the Ministry of Justice both archives and distributes the legislation and ensures public awareness of the Act.

Archiving Acts of ParliamentEdit

When a bill is approved by both Houses and given Royal Assent and therefore enacted it is given to the records office who take several actions in archiving the Act correctly. Two copies of the Act are printed upon vellum, one is preserved in the archives of the records office and another is preserved in the House of Peers. Then paper copies of the Act are given to the Ministry of Justice whose aim is to make the public aware of the change in the legislation and ensure that a copy of the Act can be accessed by all people in the nation. When an Act is archived it must be done in a very specific way to ensure that it is correctly archived. Firstly the Act is given a title and citation along with an enacting clause, these go above the main body of the Act as it was passed. Below that the Seals of Parliament, one for the House of Members and one for the House of Peers, are placed by each House's respective speaker. Finally the monarch places his signature and seal of Royal Assent. Without all of these the Act is neither correctly archived nor can it be considered part of Brethish Law.

Parts of an Act of Parliament in an archive submission:

  • Title and citation
  • Enacting clause
  • Main body of Act
  • Seals of Parliament
  • Signature of Royal Assent

Titles and citationEdit

Each Act is given a title and a short title along with a chapter number. Long titles are placed below the short title and are full explanations of the scope of the Act, they are taken from the long title for the bill before it was passed, they act as a preamble to the main body of the Act. The short title goes at the very top of the Act and is used as a quick reference to the Act, they are a few words quickly explaining the Act followed by the year it was passed in. The chapter numbers are used mostly within archives although are on every copy of the Act in between the short title and the long title, they are composed of the years of a monarchs reign within which the parliamentary session occurred followed by the shortened name of the monarch followed by a c. meaning chapter and then a number indicating what number Act it is that was passed within that session.

Long title base:

"On Akt to ...; an for konnekten purposes."

"An Act to ...; and for connected purposes."


Short title base:

"... Akt 2013"

"... Act 2013"


Chapter number base:

"1 & 2 Hen. 2 c. 1"

Enacting clausesEdit

The enacting clause is an introduction which is considered to be part of the proof that the Act in part of law. They contain a declaration that the Act has been enacted by the Monarch, followed by a statement that this has been done under the advice of the Peers and Members of the Parliament of the time of its enactment and details that with the authority of Parliament and the monarch is has become law. Public General Acts that solely concern taxation or government spending, as opposed to changes in public law (or money bills as they are more simply known when they are proposals) contain an extra preamble concerning the raising of finance to commit spending.

For Public General Acts:

"Bene yt enakten by the Kyng's [Kven's] most Excellens Mageste, by an myj the ajwyce an konsentyre of the Peyres, an Lythes, yn thys praesens Parlyamentum assemblen, an by the authoryte of the same, as folges:—"

"Be it enacted by the King's [Queen's] most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Peers, an Members, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—"


For Public General Acts that solely concern taxation or government spending, as opposed to changes in public law:

"Most Graʃyus Sowerayn

Ve, Yuver Mageste's most dueteful an loyal subgektes, the Lythes of the Unytej Kyngdom of Brethyrlond yn Parlyamentum assemblen, toveards reysyng the necessarye supllyes to defraye Yuver Mageste's publyk expenses, an makyng on ajdeʃyun to the publyk rewenue, hawe frelye an woluntaryelye resolwen to gyfe an grante undto Yuver Mageste the seweral duetes herynafter menʃyunen; an done therfor most humblelye beseche Yuver Mageste thet yt mage be enakten, an be yt enakten by the Kyng's [Kven's] most Excellens Mageste, by an myj the ajwyce an konsentyre of the Peyres, an Lythes, yn thys praesens Parlyamentum assemblen, an by the authoryte of the same, as folges:—"

"Most Gracious Sovereign

We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Members of the United Kingdom of Bretherland in Parliament assembled, towards raising the necessary supplies to defray Your Majesty's public expenses, and making an addition to the public revenue, have freely and voluntarily resolved to give and grant unto Your Majesty the several duties hereinafter mentioned; and do therefore most humbly beseech Your Majesty that it may be enacted, and be it enacted by the King's [Queen's] most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Peers, an Members, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—"

Main body of the ActEdit

The main body of the Act is the main body of the bill as it was when it was made into an Act. It contains all the information actually pertaining to law.

Seals of ParliamentEdit

The speakers of both the House of Members and House of Peers place a seal of their respective House's on the vellum copies. These are placed below the main body of the Act to show that each House has approved of it. The seal of the House of Members goes to the left if the bill started in the House, and vice versa for the House of Peers and a bill that starts there. The seals are both the same except for the colouration and the adorning plants, the seal for the House of Members is green and has wheat wreaths (an old symbol of commoners in Bretherland in relation to most originally being wheat farmers) while the seal for the House of Peers is yellow and has thistles at the side (Thistles are a symbol of nobility in Bretherland).

Seals of each House of Parliament:

House of Members House of Peers
Seal of the House of Members
Seal of the House of Peers

Signature of Royal AssentEdit

The signature of Royal Assent is vital to all law, as the Monarch still holds the utmost authority to create, alter and repeal the law. The monarch is required to personally sign the act under the watch of key witnesses. The monarch gives a short confirmation on the Act becoming enacted and then signs the Act to show that he has indeed giving the confirmation (or not in the case of a refusal). The monarch may also refuse a bill, although this is not truly relevant to an Act that is to be recorded it is shown here as a comparison with the signature when an Act is passed.

For Public General Acts that were proposed by the government:

The Kyng thankyans hys goj subgektes,
akseptes theyr bunty,
an vylles yt svo


~ Henry II.

For Public General Acts that were proposed as a private members bill:

The Kyng vylles yt

~ Henry II.

For Personal Acts:

Laete yt be as yt yse desyren

~ Henry II.

In the case where the Monarch refuses:

The Kyng vylle konsyjere yt

~ Henry II.

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