Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom

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In the United Kingdom, Acts of Parliament are primary legislation passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, as a result of the Glorious Revolution and the assertion of parliamentary sovereignty, are supreme law that cannot be overturned by any body other than Parliament.

As a result of devolution, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and the Scottish Parliament are able to create primary legislation for their respective devolved institutions. These devolved legislatures are able to create legislation regarding all but reserved and excepted matters. However, Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom remain supreme and can overrule the devolved legislatures. By convention, the Parliament of the United Kingdom does not do this without a legislative consent motion.

A draft piece of legislation is called a bill, when this is passed by Parliament it becomes an Act and part of statute law.

Acts of Parliament are classified as either "Public General Acts" or "Local and Personal Acts" (also known as "Private Acts"). Bills are also classified as "public", "private", or "hybrid".

Public General Acts form the largest category of legislation, in principle affecting the public general law applying to everyone across the entire United Kingdom (or at least to one or more of its constituent countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales). Most Public General Acts proceed through Parliament as a public bill; occasionally, however, a bill is treated as hybrid.

Private Acts are either local or personal in their effect, applying to a specifically named locality or legal person in a manner different from all others. Private bills are "usually promoted by organisations, like local authorities or private companies, to give themselves powers beyond, or in conflict with, the general law. Private bills only change the law as it applies to specific individuals or organisations, rather than the general public. Groups or individuals potentially affected by these changes can petition Parliament against the proposed bill and present their objections to committees of MPs and Lords." They include acts to confer powers on certain local authorities, a recent example being the Canterbury City Council Bill, which makes provisions relating to street trading and consumer protection in the city. Private bills can also affect certain companies; the Northern Bank Bill allowed the statutory right of Northern Bank to issue bank notes to be transferred following a takeover of the company by Danske Bank. Other private bills may affect particular companies established by Act of Parliament such as TSB Bank and Transas.

This page was last edited on 21 December 2017, at 02:56.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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