Part Seven: Printing, Marshalling, Grouping and Selecting Amendments

Part Seven: Printing, marshalling, grouping and selecting amendments

7.1 This part of the guidance deals with the printing of each day’s amendments in the Business Bulletin, the amalgamation of the various days’ lists into a Marshalled List, the preparation of groupings and the selection of amendments at Final Stage.

Rules on marshalling

7.2 The preparation of both daily lists of amendments and Marshalled Lists is based on rules determined by the Clerk of the Parliament (under Rule 9A.12.8). They are subject to the “order of consideration” – that is, the order in which the sections and schedules of the Bill are to be considered. At Consideration Stage, the order of consideration is the order set out in Rule 9A.9.6 or such other as is decided by the Private Bill Committee under that Rule; at Final Stage, it is either the order in which the sections and schedules appear in the Bill or such other order as the Parliament has decided under Rule 9A.10.5. The long title is always considered last.

7.3 The rules are as follows—

• An amendment to insert a new section or schedule before or after an existing section or schedule is taken before or after (as the case may be) amendments to the existing section or schedule.

• An amendment to leave out a section or schedule and insert a new section or schedule in its place is taken after all amendments to the section or schedule, but before any amendment to leave out the section or schedule. An amendment to leave out a section or schedule is, in turn, taken before any amendments to divide or move the section or schedule.

• Within each section or schedule, amendments are considered in the order determined by the first point in the section or schedule to which they relate, subject to the following rules:

o Amendments to leave out a block of text within a section or schedule (such as a subsection or paragraph) are taken before any amendments to that block of text.

o Amendments to leave out words are taken before any amendments to leave out words beginning at the same place in the Bill and insert other words in their place.

o Amendments to insert new words at the end of the last line of a block of text are taken before amendments to insert new blocks of text at the end of that line; and amendments to insert new blocks of text at the same place in the Bill are taken in the order in which those blocks of text would appear in the Bill if all such amendments were agreed to.

• Where the order of amendments to the same place in the Bill is not determined by the above rules, they are normally taken in the order in which they are lodged, but with precedence given to those lodged by the member in charge of the Bill.

7.4 Thus amendments would be marshalled as follows:

Section 12

In section 12, page 10, line 8, leave out subsection (1)

In section 12, page 10, line 8, leave out subsection (1) and insert—

<(1) Text of new subsection.>

In section 12, page 10, line 8, leave out <word>

In section 12, page 10, line 8, leave out <word> and insert <words>

In section 12, page 10, line 8, after <word> insert <words>

In section 12, page 10, line 8, at end insert <words>

In section 12, page 10, line 8, at end insert—

<( ) text of new paragraph;>

In section 12, page 10, line 8, at end insert—

<( ) Text of new subsection.>

Leave out section 12 and insert—

<Title of new section

Text of new section.>

Leave out section 12

Divide section 12 into two sections, the first (Title of first new section) to consist of subsections (1) and (2) and the second (Title of second new section) to consist of subsections (3) to (5)

Move section 12 to after section 14

After section 12.

After section 12, insert—

<Title of new section

Text of new section.>

Daily lists of amendments

7.5 Where possible, all amendments lodged before the deadline on a particular day are printed in Section G of the following day’s Business Bulletin under the short title of the relevant Bill. The amendments in each such “daily list” will normally appear in “marshalled” order, numbered consecutively from top to bottom of the list (except for amendments to amendments, which are numbered by reference to the amendment to which they relate, so amendments to amendment 3 are 3A, 3B etc.). Amendment numbers on a second daily list begin where the numbers on the first such list left off.

Marshalled List

7.6 Normally, by the time a Marshalled List is printed, all the amendments to be included will already have been printed in a daily list. The Marshalled List is therefore simply an amalgamation of the various daily lists (minus any amendments that have been withdrawn). At Final Stage, however, the Marshalled List contains only those amendments that have been selected for consideration by the Presiding Officer.

7.7 Because each daily list may contain amendments scattered throughout the Bill, and because amendment numbers do not change once assigned, Marshalled Lists are not numbered consecutively but in an apparently random order. Although this may at first appear odd, it has significant advantages. The fact that each amendment is numbered as soon as it first appears in print makes it easier for members and others with an interest to follow the progress of the amendment – which is only possible because amendment numbers do not change once assigned.

7.8 Marshalled Lists are numbered by reference to the relevant print of the Bill. So the first Marshalled List at Consideration Stage of SP Bill 3 will be SP Bill 3–ML1, the second ML2, and so on. If the Bill is amended at Consideration Stage and reprinted as SP Bill 3A, the Final Stage Marshalled List will be SP Bill 3A–ML; if the Bill is not amended, the Final Stage Marshalled List will be numbered in the same sequence as those at Consideration Stage.

Grouping of amendments

7.9 The purpose of grouping amendments is to minimise repetition by debating together amendments on particular topics. There are principal grounds on which amendments are grouped together—

Amendments that stand or fall together, or are to a lesser extent dependent on each other, are grouped. For example, there might be a series of amendments throughout a Bill to change a particular date or title, where there would be no point in agreeing to any one such amendment without also agreeing to all the others, and where a single debate on the issue is all that is required. Another clear case would be an amendment to insert a new schedule and the amendment to insert a provision introducing the schedule, where the Bill would be defective if it included one and not the other.

A less clear case might involve an amendment to insert a new section, and a number of other amendments to insert cross-references to that new section in various existing provisions of the Bill. It might be that the new section would be ineffective without at least some of the other amendments, but members who support the new section might differ on which of the existing provisions of the Bill should be made subject to its procedures, and hence which of the associated amendments should be agreed to.

Amendments that represent alternative ways of addressing the same issue, or are otherwise closely related in terms of the issue they raise, are grouped. Here the clear case involves directly competing alternatives, where it would not make sense to agree to all of the amendments and where the issues raised are identical: for example, where the Bill makes provision for a specified period of notice (e.g. one month) and there are amendments to substitute different periods (e.g. two months, three months, six months).

A less clear case would be where there are various amendments to a particular provision that are related only by the fact that their subject matter is determined by the provision. Some might make major changes to the provision, others only small changes. Some might be mostly technical in nature (e.g. to improve the drafting), whereas others might involve major changes of policy. In this situation, amendments to amendments are always grouped with the amendments to which they relate. Similarly, amendments are almost always grouped with any amendments they would pre-empt (see paragraph 8.3), to guarantee an opportunity for the latter amendments to be debated.

7.10 The groupings are decided by the convener or Presiding Officer (Rule 9A.12.12). The clerks, in preparing a draft, may seek the views of members and the promoter, but the convener’s or Presiding Officer’s decision is final. Groupings lists are prepared no later than the day before the relevant meeting of the Private Bill Committee or the Parliament and are available in advance in the Document Supply Centre. Like Marshalled Lists, groupings are numbered by reference to the Bill number (e.g. SP Bill 3-PS1 for the first).

Selection of amendments

7.11 There is no selection of amendments at Consideration Stage (or Reconsideration Stage), but at Final Stage the Presiding Officer has the power to select which amendments of those that have been lodged (and are admissible) are to be taken (under Rule 9A.10.4). The decision of the Presiding Officer is final.

7.12 The purpose of selection is to ensure that proceedings on the Bill can be completed in a reasonable time and to avoid repeating unnecessarily discussion of issues fully debated at Consideration Stage. The criteria that the Presiding Officer applies are as follows—

• Any amendments lodged by a member of the Committee on behalf of the promoter will normally be selected.

• Trivial amendments or amendments that are defective (i.e. acceptable as “probing” amendments, but not fit to become law) should not be selected, to allow the debate to concentrate on the more important issues and on amendments that could improve the resulting legislation. Selection should not, however, reduce the range of important issues considered.

• Amendments that raise issues fully considered at Consideration Stage, particularly where the Consideration Stage debate made it obvious that there was little real merit in the amendment or little support for it, should not be selected. The fact that an amendment was disagreed to on division at Consideration Stage is less important than the nature of the issue raised, and the overall level of support expressed in debate should be the guide.

• An amendment that was fully discussed may, however, be selected if:

o the promoter gave an undertaking to reconsider this issue, particularly if no amendment on behalf of the promoter to address the issue has been lodged: or

o there has been (or appears to have been) a relevant material development, such that, had it applied when the Consideration Stage debate took place, a different result might have obtained.

• Selection may also be used to reduce the number of alternative or overlapping amendments. But there need be no selection among a number of valid alternative amendments (which would in any case be grouped and debated together).