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The Scottish Parliament and law making
The Scottish Parliament and law making

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3.4 Stages of legislation

When a Bill is introduced to the Parliament there are three stages that it must go through.

  • Stage 1 involves consideration of the general principles of the Bill by the parliamentary committee designated to deal with it. Here there will be proactive engagement with the general public and relevant experts. The committee will report back to Parliament and, if Parliament agrees to the Bill’s general principles, it will be referred back to the committee.
  • Stage 2 entails detailed consideration of the Bill, including any amendments proposed by the Scottish Government and MSPs.
  • Stage 3 is where final consideration of the Bill takes place and the Parliament votes on whether or not the Bill should be passed.

Figure 14 shows an alternative and more visual way of illustrating the stages of a Bill. Pause for a few moments and reflect on how you process and remember information. Which of the two ways of presenting the information do you prefer? The linear list such as the one above, or the diagram in Figure 14? Being able to identify the way in which you respond to, and learn from information, is a skill. One of the keys to success is identifying which best suits your own needs.

Stages of a Bill (from Scottish Parliament website)
Figure 13 Stages of a Bill (from Scottish Parliament website)

One of the unique features of the Scottish Parliament is its openness, transparency of process and proactivity in engaging with the Scottish public. There are processes for wide consultation, an open evidence process at committees, and members of the public and interested parties are able to liaise directly with MSPs to lobby for amendments to a Bill. The Scottish Parliament website has a ‘Getting Involved’ week which encourages individuals to engage with and participate in the work of the parliament and explains how to do this. For all this work the Scottish Parliament has received international recognition and works more closely with the people MSPs represent.

Extract from 2015-16 Scottish Parliament Annual Report
Figure 14 Extract from 2015-16 Scottish Parliament Annual Report

Watch the following videos which provides an overview of the law making process in the Scottish Parliament.

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Overview visitandlearn/ 100530.aspx [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Stage 1 visitandlearn/ 100531.aspx

Stage 2 visitandlearn/ 100532.aspx

Stage 3 visitandlearn/ 100533.aspx

How the Bill comes into force visitandlearn/ 100534.aspx