What are the three types of Bill?

Updated Friday, 30th August 2019
Laws start their lives as Bills in the Houses of Parliament. Here's a quick guide to the three type of Bill.

Cromwell Statue at the Houses Of Paliament

What is a Bill?

An Act of Parliament starts off as a Bill. A Bill is a proposal for a new piece of legislation that – if approved by a majority in the House of Commons and the House of Lords – will become an Act of Parliament and law of the land.

There three kinds of Bill.

What is a Public Bill?

This is the most common type of Bill. Public Bills deal with matters affecting the public generally and are usually introduced by a Government minister. Public Bills apply throughout England and Wales. Most Bills are public and are introduced and supported by the Government.

What is a Private Members' Bill?

A Private Members' Bill deals with matters affecting the public generally but is introduced by a Member of Parliament who is not a minister. Private Members' Bills are a type of Public Bill and should not be confused with Private Bills.

What is a Private Bill?

A Private Bill deals with issues which affect only a very small number of people. For example, a Private Bill could deal with a matter affecting a single local authority. Private Bills are promoted by the group concerned. A Private Bill does not affect the general public as a whole. A Private Bill might be introduced, for example, to give National Rail (the company which maintains Britain's network of train lines) the power to construct a new railway line in a particular area of the country.


Become an OU student

Ratings & Comments

Share this free course

Copyright information

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?