Consultation on hybrid bill procedure launched by Parliament

The Houses of Parliament have launched an inquiry on hybrid bills – and they want to hear from you.

They say

We welcome responses from anyone concerned with Hybrid Bill procedure, but in particular we invite responses from Members of both Houses, parliamentary agents, petitioners and those who have been involved with recent hybrid legislation.

The deadline for responses is Friday 23rd July 2021.

The aim of the review is to fundamentally re-draft the set of standing orders specific to hybrid bill procedure, so it is important that ordinary members of the public – the type of person who might need to respond to a hybrid bill – have a say.

The review covers both houses and It is being administered by the House of Lords, so responses should be sent by email to hlprivatebills@parliament.uk, or by post to Private Bill Office, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. The Chairman of Ways and Means and the Senior Deputy Speaker may wish to publish responses in whole or in part.

The questions are:

General questions

1.What should Parliament do to ensure that those who are directly and specially affected by a hybrid bill (that is, potential petitioners) know how to use the petitioning process effectively?
2.Is there an imbalance in the roles and resources of the promoters and the petitioners that creates problems of unfairness and, if so, is there anything that Parliament should do to remedy it?
3.Are there procedures and practices used in other systems for determining planning applications, such as planning inquiries for major construction projects, which could usefully be applied to the hybrid bill procedure when dealing with works bills?
4.Are there procedural, or any other, changes that could be made to promote negotiation between the promoters and petitioners (or potential petitioners) so that agreement might be reached at an earlier stage and in advance of committee hearings?

Specific procedural questions

5.Should parties to hybrid bill proceedings (whether promoters, petitioners, witnesses, or Members of the hybrid bill select committee) be able to appear at and participate in meetings remotely?
6.Should the £20 petitioner’s fee be retained? What are the arguments for and against its retention? If it is retained, what should govern the level of the fee?
7.What further guidance might assist potential petitioners in understanding the concept of “right to be heard”?
8.Should promoters be able to propose Additional Provision in either House? What would be the consequences of allowing Additional Provision in the second House?
9.Where promoters make undertakings to a hybrid bill select committee, or give assurances, how can Parliament most effectively ensure that they fulfil those obligations?

Finally

10.Are there any other changes to hybrid bill procedure and practice that are needed, or would be desirable, in order to promote the overall purpose of the review? 

For the background and more information on the consultation, please see the Parliamentary website here.

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