Back to the Scottish Parliament Business Bulletin No. 116/2009: Monday 3 August 2009
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DETERMINATION ON ‘PROPER FORM’ OF PRIVATE BILLS

The Presiding Officer has determined, under Rules 9.2.3 and 9A.1.4 of the Standing Orders, that the "proper form" of Bills is as follows. (Note: this determination supersedes the determination printed in Bulletin No. 37/1999 and in Annex A to the Guidance on Public Bills.)

Structure

The text of a Bill should be set out in numbered sections, supplemented where appropriate by schedules, which should be numbered unless there is only one. Bills may be divided into numbered Parts and Chapters (as may schedules). Each section, schedule, Part and Chapter should have a brief descriptive title. The sections of a Bill (or the paragraphs of a schedule) may also be grouped under italic cross-headings as a guide to the structure of the Bill (or the schedule).

Sections may be divided into numbered subsections, which in turn may be divided into paragraphs, sub-paragraphs etc. Schedules may be similarly divided into numbered paragraphs, sub-paragraphs etc.

Each Bill should be prefaced by a long title beginning "An Act of the Scottish Parliament to …". Preambles to Bills are not permitted.

Style and presentation

Section numbers and titles should appear in bold, with each section title appearing above the text of the section. Units of text smaller than sections and schedule paragraphs should appear as indented blocks of text with straight left margins.

Where it is appropriate for repeals and revocations to be listed in tabular format in a schedule, that schedule should be set out in two columns, the first giving the short title and number of each statute or instrument affected, in chronological order; the second listing the provisions to be repealed or revoked, in the order in which they appear in the statute or instrument.

Presiding Officer’s Recommendations on the Content of Bills

The Presiding Officer has made the following recommendations about the content of Bills. (Note: these recommendations do not form part of the determination of "proper form" and supersede those printed in Bulletin No. 37/1999 and in Annex A to the Guidance on Public Bills.)

Style and content

A Bill should be drafted so that, when read with any relevant existing statutory provision, its intended legal effect is clear.

A Bill should include provision for the short title by which the Act may be cited. The long title should set out the principal purposes of the Bill.

The text of a Bill – including both the short and long titles – should be in neutral terms and should not contain material intended to promote or justify the policy behind the Bill, or to explain its effect. The text of the Bill itself should be identical to the text of the Act to which it is intended to give rise and, in particular, should refer to the Bill as "this Act".

Any proposed Bill that has such severe deficiencies in drafting that it could not readily be understood or, if enacted, would be manifestly incapable of consistent legal application, should not be introduced.

A Bill whose principal purpose (or one of whose principal purposes) is to make provision manifestly outside the legislative competence of the Parliament should not be introduced.

Any Bill intended to extend other than to the whole of Scotland should set out that intended extent. Any Bill intended to come into force other than on the day of Royal Assent should either give a date or dates for commencement, or make provision for the appointment of the relevant date or dates. Any Bill containing provisions that would confer power to make subordinate legislation should specify what powers, if any, the Parliament is to have to approve or reject the subordinate legislation (or draft subordinate legislation) laid before it under those provisions.

Preparation for introduction

The text of a Bill should be submitted to the Clerk in writing or by e-mail in sufficient time before the proposed date of introduction to allow it to be prepared for printing. No Bill may be printed under the authority of the Parliament except by the Clerk. The Clerk will ensure that the printed version of the Bill conforms to the following presentational conventions:

  • The text of Bills (sections, schedules and the long title) should be printed in Times New Roman font, 11.5 point, fully justified.
  • There should be a running header throughout the body of the Bill containing the Bill’s short title and page number together with, where appropriate, any Part and Chapter titles or schedule and schedule Part titles.
  • Bills of more than around six sections should be printed with a Contents page or pages.
  • The text of the Bill, including the long title, should be printed with line numbers every fifth line.
  • The Bill should be printed with a back sheet setting out the short and long titles, the name of the member who introduced it, the date of introduction, the names of any supporters and the type of Bill.

DETERMINATION ON PROPER FORM OF ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTS

The Presiding Officer has determined under Rule 9A.3.1 of the Standing Orders that the proper form of accompanying documents for a Private Bill is as follows.

All accompanying documents (other than maps, plans and sections)

The text of each document should be set out either in un-numbered paragraphs or in consecutively-numbered paragraphs (1, 2, 3, etc.). Paragraphs may be divided into sub-paragraphs or bullet-points, but multi-level numbering (e.g. 1.1.1) should be avoided.

Headings should be un-numbered.

The text of each document should generally follow the order of such requirements as are specified in the relevant Rule.

Explanatory Notes

The first two paragraphs (under the heading "Introduction") should read as follows [variable or optional text]––

‘These Explanatory Notes have been prepared by [name of agent] [on behalf of] the promoter [name of promoter] in order to assist the reader of the [short title] Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by the Parliament.

The Notes should be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a section or schedule, or a part of a section or schedule, does not seem to require any explanation, none is given.’

These should be followed by, first (where appropriate) a general description and explanation of the Bill (under the heading "The Bill") and, secondly, paragraphs describing and explaining those of the Bill’s provisions requiring explanation or comment (normally in the order those provisions arise in the Bill, save that schedules and the sections that introduce them may be dealt with together).

Book of Reference

The first paragraph (under the heading "Introduction") should read as follows [variable or optional text]––

‘This document relates to the [short title] Bill introduced in the Scottish Parliament on [date]. It has been prepared by [name of agent] [on behalf of] the promoter [name of promoter] to satisfy Rule 9A.2.3(c)(ii) of the Parliament’s Standing Orders. The contents are entirely the responsibility of the promoter and have not been endorsed by the Parliament.’

Environmental Statement

The first paragraph (under the heading "Introduction") should read as follows [variable or optional text]––

‘This document relates to the [short title] Bill introduced in the Scottish Parliament on [date]. It has been prepared by [name of agent] [on behalf of] the promoter [name of promoter] to satisfy Rule 9A.2.3(c)(iii) of the Parliament’s Standing Orders. The contents are entirely the responsibility of the promoter and have not been endorsed by the Parliament.’

Promoter’s Statement

The Statement should clearly state which (if any) of Rules 9A.2.3(d)(i), (ii) and (iii) apply.

The undertaking under Rule 9A.2.3(d)(v) should be in the following form [variable or optional text] and should be signed by or on behalf of the promoter––

‘I/We, [name of agent] [on behalf of] [name of promoter], hereby undertake to send copies of the [maps,] [plans,] [sections,] [book of reference,] [and] [Environmental Statement] accompanying the [short title] Bill, together with any other documents relevant to the Bill submitted to the Parliament on, or after introduction, to the premises determined by the Presiding Officer for the purpose of Rule 9A.4.2.’

The undertaking under Rule 9A.2.3(d)(vi) should be in the following form [variable or optional text] and should be signed by or on behalf of the promoter––

‘I/We, [name of agent] [on behalf of] [name of promoter], hereby undertake to pay any costs that may be incurred by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body during the passage of the [short title] Bill in respect of the matters determined by that Body under Rule 9A.2.3(d)(vi) of the Parliament’s Standing Orders.’

Assignation of copyright/licensing agreement(s)

The agreement under Rule 9A.2.3(e)(i) should be in the following form [variable or optional text] and should be signed by or on behalf of the promoter––

‘I/We, [name of agent] [on behalf of] [name of promoter], hereby assign to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body copyright in the [short title] Bill, in the Explanatory Notes and any revised Explanatory Notes, the Promoter’s Memorandum, [Estimate of Expense and Funding Statement] and the Promoter’s Statement accompanying the [short title] Bill.’

The agreement under Rule 9A.2.3(e)(ii) should be in the following form [variable or optional text] and should be signed by or on behalf of the promoter––

‘I/We, [name of agent] [on behalf of] [name of promoter], hereby license the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to use or reproduce for the Parliament’s purposes the [plans,] [maps,] [sections,] [book of reference,] [and] [Environmental Statement] accompanying the [short title] Bill, together with any other documents relevant to the Bill submitted to the Parliament on, or after, introduction.’

MODEL NOTIFICATION LETTER

(A): Model notification letter

[SHORT TITLE OF BILL]

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that [name of promoter] intends to introduce a Private Bill, the [title of Bill], into the Scottish Parliament on or around [proposed date of introduction], and of the procedures involved should you wish to seek further information regarding the Bill, the parliamentary process to which it will be subject, or how to lodge an objection to the Bill.

The purpose of the Bill is to [insert details, including any works].

The day after the Bill is introduced in the Parliament, it will be published by the Parliament together with the following accompanying documents—

Explanatory Notes
Promoter’s Memorandum
Promoter’s Statement
[Estimate of Expenses and Funding Statement]
Statement by the Presiding Officer of the Parliament on the legislative competence of the Bill.

The day after introduction, the Bill and the above documents will be available on the Parliament’s website (www.scottish.parliament.uk, go to ‘Parliamentary Business’, then ‘Bills’, then click on ‘Current Bills’). In addition, copies of the Bill and its accompanying documents [(including a Book of Reference, maps, plans and sections, and Environmental Statement, that have been published by the promoter)] will be available for inspection at the following Parliament partner libraries—

[list relevant partner libraries]

[If possible, a copy of the Environmental Statement will be made available via the Parliament’s website.]

Copies of the Bill, and those accompanying documents published by the Parliament, will be available for sale from any Blackwell’s bookshop. [Copies of the other accompanying documents will be available for sale from [name and address of contact including, if possible, details of price of each document]

Once the Bill has been introduced, it will be subject to a three Stage process where it will be considered in detail both by a specially established Private Bill Committee and by the full Parliament.

Should you wish to object to the Bill, you will have 60 days to do so. The objection period commences the day after the Bill is introduced and ends at 5.00 pm on the sixtieth day thereafter. Where the sixtieth day falls on a day when the Office of the Clerk is closed, at 5.00 pm on the first day after that sixtieth day on which the office of the Clerk is open. Objections must be lodged with the Private Bills Unit, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP (0131 348 6789, private.bills@scottish.parliament.uk). The enclosed leaflet gives information on the Private Bill process and, in particular, the objection process.

A copy of the Parliament’s Guidance on Private Bills, which explains in greater detail the procedures involved in the Private Bill process, is available for inspection from the partner libraries listed above. The guidance is also available on the Parliament’s website (www.scottish.parliament.uk, go to ‘Parliamentary Business’ and then ‘Parliamentary Procedure’).

If you wish to lodge an objection, you will require to conform to the admissibility criteria set out in the Parliament’s Standing Orders (its rules of procedure). Objections are required to—

  • be in English or Gaelic;
  • be printed, typed or clearly hand-written;
  • set out clearly the name, address and, where available, other contact details of the objector (telephone, e-mail and fax);
  • be signed (where applicable by a person duly authorised and showing that person’s position or designation) and dated;
  • set out clearly the nature of the objection i.e. why the objector opposes the Bill, for example, the proposed acquisition of an objector’s property, or noise and vibration;
  • explain whether the objection is to the whole Bill and/or specified provisions in which case these should be clearly identified;
  • specify how the objector’s interests would be adversely affected by the Bill, for example because of anticipated loss of earnings, or reduction in property values, adverse impact on employment or business, loss of amenity etc; and
  • be accompanied by the lodging fee determined by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (currently £20.00).

It is important to emphasise that an objection states clearly whether it is against the whole Bill and/or specified provisions. In either case the objection must clearly show how the objector will be adversely affected by the provisions of the Bill.

At the conclusion of the objection period, the clerks in the Private Bills Unit will check all objections for admissibility. Once this has been done, a letter will be issued to each objector and a copy of each admissible objection will be made available for inspection in each of the above partner libraries and on the Parliament’s website. Should you not wish all, or any, of your contact details to be made available on the website, then you must inform the clerks of this at the time you are objecting. They will then delete this from the web version of that objection but not from the copies placed in the partner libraries for inspection (this version will be useful to objectors in identifying each other should they wish to enter into dialogue where there are objections of a similar nature).

For further details on the Private Bill process and, in particular, the objection process, please contact the Private Bills Unit (0131 348 6789, private.bills@scottish.parliament.uk). For further details on the subject matter of the Bill please contact [insert name and contact details for promoter.]

(B): Model notification letter where compulsory acquisition or use of any lands or buildings is sought

IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT ABOUT THE POSSIBLE EFFECT OF THIS LETTER YOU SHOULD SEEK LEGAL ADVICE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

[TITLE OF BILL]

[DETAILS OF PROPERTY LIABLE TO COMPULSORY PURCHASE] NOTICE OF PROPOSAL [TO ACQUIRE LAND/RIGHTS IN LAND COMPULSORILY] [TO USE LAND] [FOR POWERS TO CARRY OUT PROTECTIVE WORKS TO BUILDINGS] [TO EXTINGUISH RIGHTS OVER LAND]

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that [name of promoter] intends to introduce a Private Bill, the [title], into the Scottish Parliament on or around [proposed date of introduction], and of the procedures involved should you wish to seek further information regarding the Bill, the parliamentary process to which it will be subject, or how to lodge an objection.

The purpose of the Bill is [insert details including any works].

We understand that you have an interest in the property/properties [insert general details of property] fully described in the schedule to this letter. If the Bill is passed by the Parliament, you may be obliged to sell your property, or [lose your] [the promoter or a third party may be given the] right to use it. This means that ownership of the property/properties described in the schedule could be taken from you. You may be entitled to compensation from the promoter if you are obliged to sell the property or the promoter or a third party gains a right to use it.

The Bill provides for the [extinguishment of the] [land] [rights in land] [rights to use land] [rights to carry out protective works to buildings], [insert general details of property] described in the schedule to this letter and shown on the extract from the Bill plans attached to the Schedule (should you require further information or have any questions about the area of land referred to (e.g. identifying precise location, intended use) please contact [insert name address and phone number of individual]). It is believed you have an interest in this land.

The day after the Bill is introduced in the Parliament, it will be published by the Parliament together with the following accompanying documents—

Explanatory Notes
Promoter’s Memorandum
Promoter’s Statement
Estimate of Expenses and Funding Statement
Statement by the Presiding Officer of the Parliament on the legislative competence of the Bill.

The day after introduction, the Bill and the above documents will be available, free of charge, on the Parliament’s website (www.scottish.parliament.uk, go to ‘Parliamentary Business’, then ‘Bills’, then click on ‘Bills in Progress’). In addition, copies of the Bill and its accompanying documents [(including a Book of Reference, maps, plans and sections, and Environmental Statement, that have been published by the promoter)], will be available for inspection at the following Parliament partner libraries—

[list relevant partner libraries]

[If possible, a copy of the Environmental Statement will be made available on the Parliament’s website.]

Copies of the Bill, and those accompanying documents published by the Parliament, will be available for sale from any Blackwell’s bookshop. Copies of the other accompanying documents will be available for sale from—

[name and address of contact including, if possible, details of price of each document]

[The Bill shall provide that, notwithstanding section 90 of the Lands Clauses Consolidation (Scotland) Act 1845 (where a person cannot be obliged to sell only part of a house or other building if they are able to sell the whole of the building), you may be required to sell and convey a part only of your property, numbered [here insert number or numbers] on the deposited plan.]

[The Bill [seeks to supersede] section 90 of the Lands Clauses Consolidation (Scotland) Act 1845, and substitute for it a provision restricting the power of acquiring compulsorily a part only of a—

(a) house or building to cases where the part can be taken without material detriment to the house or building; and
(b) park or garden belonging to a house to cases where the part can be taken without seriously affecting the amenity or convenience of the house.]

Once the Bill has been introduced, it will be subject to a three Stage process where it will be considered in detail both by a specially established Private Bill Committee and by the full Parliament.

Should you wish to object to the Bill, you will have 60 days to do so. The objection period commences the day after the Bill is introduced and ends at 5.00 pm on the sixtieth day thereafter. Where the sixtieth day falls on a day when the Office of the Clerk is closed, at 5.00 pm on the first day after that sixtieth day on which the Office of the Clerk is open. Objections must be lodged with the Private Bills Unit, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP (0131 348 6789, private.bills@scottish.parliament.uk). The enclosed leaflet gives information on the Private Bill process and, in particular, the objection process.

A copy of the Parliament’s Guidance on Private Bills, which explains in greater detail the Private Bill process, is available for inspection from the partner libraries listed above. The guidance is also available on the Parliament’s website (www.scottish.parliament.uk, go to ‘Parliamentary Business’ and then ‘Parliamentary Procedure’).

If you are wishing to lodge an objection, you will require to conform to the admissibility criteria set out in the Parliament’s Standing Orders (its rules of procedure). Objections are required to—

  • be in English or Gaelic;
  • be printed, typed or clearly hand-written;
  • set out clearly the name, address and, where available, other contact details of the objector (telephone, e-mail and fax);
  • be signed (where applicable by a person duly authorised and showing that person’s position or designation) and dated;
  • set out clearly the nature of the objection i.e. why the objector opposes the Bill, for example, the proposed acquisition of an objector’s property, or noise and vibration;
  • explain whether the objection is to the whole Bill and/or specified provisions in which case these should be clearly identified;
  • specify how the objector’s interests would be adversely affected by the Bill, for example because of anticipated loss of earnings, or reduction in property values, adverse impact on employment or business, loss of amenity etc; and
  • be accompanied by the lodging fee determined by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (currently £20.00).

It is important to emphasise that an objection states clearly whether it is against the whole Bill and/or specified provisions. In either case the objection must clearly show how the objector will be adversely affected by the provisions of the Bill.

At the conclusion of the objection period, the clerks in the Private Bills Unit will check all objections for admissibility. Once this has been done, a letter will be issued to each objector and a copy of each admissible objection will be made available for inspection in each of the above partner libraries and on to the Parliament’s website. Should you not wish all, or any, of your contact details to be made available on the website, then you must inform the clerks of this at the time you are objecting. They will then delete this from the web version of that objection but not from the copies placed in the partner libraries for inspection (this version will be useful to objectors in identifying each other should they wish to enter into dialogue where there are objections of a similar nature).

For further details on the Private Bill process and, in particular, the objection process, please contact the Non-Executive Bills Unit (0131 348 6789, NEBU@scottish.parliament.uk). For further details on the subject matter of the Bill please contact [insert name and contact details for promoter.]

Note: [indicates where promoter is required to amend/insert text]

DETERMINATION ON ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

The Presiding Officer has determined under Rule 9A.2.3(c)(iii) of Standing Orders that the information that requires to be set out in any Environmental Statement that accompanies a Private Bill on introduction is—

(a) all of the information set out in Schedule 4 to the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999 (SSI 1999/1);

(b) in so far as the provisions in the Bill constitute a qualifying plan or programme, how the promoter has complied with, or intend to comply with the provisions of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005;

(c) how the promoter has complied with, or intend to comply with, the following in relation to the Bill—

(i) Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora and;

(ii) Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds; and

(iii) the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 (S.I. 1994/2716);

(d) how the promoter will:

(i) require contractors to minimise the environmental and other impacts of the construction works;

(ii) define minimum standards of construction practice;

(iii) inform and consult affected communities about how the effects of the works will be mitigated and the timetable of those works.

(This information to be contained in a Code of Construction Practice)

(e) how the promoter will secure the mitigation of noise and vibration from the operation of the works.

(This information to be contained in a Noise and Vibration Policy)

DETERMINATION ON PROPER FORM OF OBJECTIONS TO PRIVATE BILLS

The Presiding Officer has determined under Rule 9A.6.4 of Standing Orders, the proper form in which objections to a Private Bill must be lodged.

Every objection lodged against a Private Bill must––

  • be in English or Gaelic;
  • be printed, typed or clearly hand-written;
  • set out clearly the name, address and, where available, other contact details of the objector (telephone, fax and e-mail); and
  • be signed (where applicable, by a person duly authorised and showing that person’s position or designation) and dated.
Contents An A B C D E F G H I J