Thank you Robbie.
As Robbie stated, I am going to discuss the process for Bills to become law at Holyrood. 3 types of Bills can be passed at Holyrood, these include Public, Private and Hybrid Bills. Most Bills passed are public Bills and I will be discussing the stages that this public Bill takes to become law. There are different types of public Bills for example –
Gov bills which are introduced by a minister,
Committee bills introduced by one of the parliamentary committees
and member’s bills which are introduced by individual MSP’s.
The process these Bills take is dictated by the Scotland Act of 1998 as it explains Parliament can only legislate for or in relation to Scotland so therefore all Bills passed must only be relevant to Scotland. More importantly however, in section 36, subsection 1 of the Scotland Act, it requires that there be at least 3 distinct stages to a bill and unlike Westminster, Bills do not start off with Green or White paper drafts.
Since the major function of a parliament is to make laws it was important that the whole legislative process (how laws are made) was devised keeping the four key principles in mind. The legislative process is based on the idea that Parliament itself should be strong, that the people of Scotland from all walks of life, pressure groups, and regions should participate and share power. A key element of the process is to ensure openness and encourage participation.
In order to share the power to influence policy, arrangements have been made to allow Parliament and interested individuals and groups to be consulted about proposed legislation before it becomes a bill. This pre-legislative consultation is designed to be open and participatory, allowing access to the decision-making process. This system prevents the government from being selective about which pressure groups have an opportunity to be consulted before policy is devised.
The outcome of the consultation process must be attached to draft bills (as a memorandum) and so the views of pressure groups and any opposition to the proposals are open and public at an early stage.