Parliament is conducting a review into the process of petitioning Hybrid Bills. We feel it is incredibly important to respond to this review, as whilst it is headlined as being to simplify and modernise procedure and make processes more user-friendly for everyone concerned, we cannot help but feel the real agenda at play will be to make it harder to get an audience in front of a bill committee.
Whatever the outcome, it will have an impact on the petitioning process for Phase 2 of HS2.
Submissions should be no more than 2,500 words and should be submitted by 30th June. Whilst the should be submitted by email to both the Lords and Commons Private Bill offices, submissions should for now focus of the Commons.
Suggested questions that respondents may wish to address include:
- How should the process of depositing petitions be modernised?
- Should petitioning fees be changed or abolished? Are other petitioning expenses significant?
- Should there be different processes for determining rights of audience (’locus standi’), such as a written or partly written process?
- Would guidance on cases where locus is likely or unlikely to apply be helpful?
- How can petitioner representation, including by agents, be improved and simplified?
- Should Members of Parliament be allowed to petition on behalf of their constituents and/or to represent petitioners?
- How should Committees programme petitions so that arguments are heard fully and fairly by different contributors, and with opportunities for pursuing different remedies, but without unnecessary repetition?
- Should programming of petitioner appearances be handled by area or by type of petitioner – for example, should local authorities all appear first?
- How can petition hearings work better?
- Should written representations be allowed?
- How can strength of support for petitions be demonstrated without requiring appearances by petitioners who do not necessarily want to appear?
- Which rules and guidance need clarifying?
Submissions should preferably be sent by email, but can be sent by post if you want to:
House of Commons Private Bill Office,
House of Commons,
London, SW1A 0AA
House of Lords Private Bill Office,
Room 23, 1st Floor,
House of Lords,
London, SW1A 0PW
As mentioned, the deadline is Thursday 30th June. The inquiry webpage can be found here.