The term bill is primarily used in Anglophone nations. In the United Kingdom, the parts of a bill are known as clauses, until it has become an act of parliament, from which time the parts of the law are known as sections.
In Francophone nations a proposed law may be known as a projet de loi or proposition de loi.
The preparation of a bill may involve the production of a draft bill prior to the introduction of the bill into the legislature. In the United Kingdom, draft bills are frequently considered to be confidential.
In the Westminster system, where the executive is drawn from the legislature and usually holds a majority in the lower house, most bills are introduced by the executive (government bill). In principle, the legislature meets to consider the demands of the executive, as set out in the Queen's Speech or Speech from the Throne.
While mechanisms exist to allow other members of the legislature to introduce bills, these are subject to strict timetables and usually fail unless a consensus is reached. In the US system, where the executive is formally separated from the legislature, all bills must originate from the legislature. Bills can be introduced using the following procedures: