Understanding the Legislative Process

Bills: A Quick Reference Guide


Government Bill (G): Introduced by Cabinet Secretaries

A Government Bill is a public Bill introduced by a Cabinet Secretary of the Scottish Government to give effect to Government policy.

Member's Bill (M): Introduced by a Member of the Scottish Parliament

A Member’s Bill is a public Bill introduced by a member who is not a member of the Scottish Government. Before gaining the right to introduce a Bill, the member must follow various procedural steps. In most cases, consultation is undertaken on the member’s draft proposal. The ultimate step is where the member must provide a final proposal for a Bill which briefly explains its purpose and which is printed in the Business Bulletin for one month. The member can then introduce the Bill at the end of the month provided the final proposal is supported by at least 18 other members, representing at least half of the political groups on the Parliamentary Bureau, and the Scottish Government or UK Government have not indicated that they are planning to introduce legislation to give effect to the proposal.

Committee Bill (C): Introduced by the Convenor of a parliamentary Committee

A Committee Bill is a public Bill introduced by the Convener of a committee of the Scottish Parliament to give effect to a proposal made by the committee for a Bill in relation to matters within its remit. The proposal is made by way of a report to the parliament. The Bill cannot be introduced if the Scottish Government or the UK Government have indicated that they are planning to introduce legislation to give effect to the proposal.

Private Bill (P): Introduced by an external person, company or group of people

A Private Bill, is a Bill introduced for the purpose of obtaining for an individual person, body corporate or unincorporated association of persons (“the promoter”) particular powers or benefits in excess of, or in conflict with, the general law, and includes a Bill relating to the estate, property, status or style, or otherwise relating to the personal affairs, of the promoter”. The definition of a Private Bill, therefore, includes what are sometimes known as “personal Bills”.

Hybrid Bill (H): Introduced by Cabinet Secretaries

A Hybrid Bill is a Public Bill that is introduced by a member of the Scottish Government to make provision about the public and general law; however its provisions can also directly affect the interests of particular individuals or bodies. These individuals or bodies are entitled to participate in the proceedings. The procedures in place for Hybrid Bills are largely similar to those for Public Bills. However they also incorporate certain procedural safeguards where the Hybrid Bill process may affect the private interests of particular individuals or bodies.

Fact Sheets

Fact Sheets are produced by information specialists with the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).  They provide factual information about parliamentary business.

Fact Sheets

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