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UNIT 3 Types of Law Types of Laws

Statute law and Common law

STATUTE LAW = primary legislation = set out in statutes voted by Parliament = approved by the Monarch COMMON LAW = created by courts = developed through creation of precedents

Statute law
formal, written law of a country or state

= enacted law = codified law written and enacted by its legislative authority (Parliament) originally enacted by the monarch Parliaments powers grew, monarchs powers diminished taken over by Parliament statutes are organized in topical arrangements called CODES (e.g. Commercial Code, Criminal Code etc.) or STATUTE BOOKS

Legislative powers
- supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom and

British overseas territories - parliamentary sovereignty (ultimate power over all other Political bodies; dates back to 16th century) - at its head - the Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II - passes legislation specific to

a) England and Wales Acts of Parliament

b) the whole of the UK

The Houses of Parliament

Composition of the UK Parliament

The Monarch

The House of Lords

hereditary body Life peers Bishops Hereditary peers
(currently around 740 Members)


The House of Commons

elected and representative body MPs Members of the Parliament
(650 Members)

Legislative procedure

Bill = a proposal for a new law, or

= a proposal to change an existing law, presented for debate before Parliament

Bill = can start in the House of Commons or the House of Lords

= must be approved in the same form by both Houses before becoming an Act (law)

Who can propose / introduce a Bill?

The government Individual MPs or Lords Private individuals or organisations

Different types of Bills

PUBLIC BILLS the most common type of bills, proposed mostly by the
Government, apply to the general population (eg. Change to the national speed limit on motorways)

PRIVATE MEMBERS BILLS Public Bills introduced by MPs and Lords

who arent government ministers; only minority become law; may affect legislation indirectly by drawing attention to specific issues

PRIVATE BILLS- usually promoted by organisations (e.g. local authorities

or private companies) to give themselves powers beyond the general law; change the law as it applies to specific individuals or organisations

HYBRID BILLS - mix the characteristics of Public and Private Bills; changes
to the law proposed by a Hybrid Bill would affect the general public but would also have a significant impact for specific individuals or groups (eg. Channel Tunnel Bills)

The Legislative process

I HOUSE OF COMMONS BILLS usually originate in the Commons -goes through several stages (readings and debates) II HOUSE OF LORDS - debate, vote on passage - may return a Bill to the Commons for revision and amendments - RESTRICTED POWERS - cannot delay the passage of Money Bills
III THE MONARCH - if passed in identical form by both Houses presented to the Queen for the ROYAL ASSENT approval of the Queen - a formal role


LAW (Act of Parliament)

The Legislative process

Bill is drafted
First Reading in the House of Commons

Second Reading in the House of Commons

Committee Stage

Report Stage
Third Reading in the House of Commons

Same proceures in the House of Lords

Royal Assent

The Legislative process

First Reading
Second Reading Committee Stage

Formal introduction of Bill into the House of Commons

Main debate on Bills principles Clause by clause consideration of the Bill by a select committee (amendments added) Committee reports suggested amendments back to the House of Commons (amendments may be added) Final debate on the Bill All stages are repeated BUT if the House of Lords votes against the Bill, it can go back to the House of Commons and become law if the House of Commons passes it for the second time (rare occurence) A formality - normally Acts of Parliament come into force at midnight after receiving the Royal Assent

Report Stage

Third Reading Repeat of process in the House of Lords

Royal Assent

The Royal Assent

the formal method by which a Monarch in many

constitutional monarchies completes the process of the enactment of legislation, by formally assenting to an Act of Parliament

The three formal options: 1. Grant the Royal Assent = sign a bill into a law 2. Withhold the Royal Assent = veto the Bill 3. Reserve the Royal Assent = neither veto nor confirm it, just leave it in limbo for an unspecified period
- in practice no British monarch since 1707(1708) has withheld the Royal Assent