The Stages of a Bill

The usual parliamentary process for a Scottish Parliament bill consists of three stages:

  • Stage 1 - consideration of the general principles of the bill by parliamentary committee(s), and a debate and decision on these by the Parliament.
  • Stage 2 - detailed consideration of the bill by parliamentary committee(s). Two days before a bill will be considered in committee, the clerks prepare a Marshalled List of amendments, which is posted on the bill’s web page.
  • Stage 3 - final consideration of the bill by the Parliament and a decision whether it should be passed or rejected.

After a bill has been passed and received royal assent, it becomes an Act of the Scottish Parliament and appears on the website.

Not all the provisions of the Act will necessarily commence (come into force) with royal assent. The Act may state when provisions will come into force or that the date (or dates, if different parts are to be brought into force at different times) will be decided by the Scottish Ministers. 

Enquiries about commencement should be directed to the Scottish Government.

Detailed information on the legislative process can be found in the Parliament’s standing orders.

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