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What happens when a Bill is drafted?

Updated Friday, 25th August 2017
Getting the Bill right is important. If it's going to become part of UK law, it needs to be carefully written - and supported.

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The House Of Commons in session

Why does it take so much time to draft a Bill?

The period of preparation of a Bill allows time to scrutinise evidence on the policies underlying the Bill, and to consider whether the Bill can be improved before it is introduced. Proper preparation of a Bill should lead to better-informed debate when it is introduced, and may save time by identifying problems at an early stage. This period of pre-legislative scrutiny should allow mature consideration and so help to avoid introducing laws that are unworkable.

Who is responsible for the consultation period?

The consultation is organised by the Government department responsible for the Bill.

What is a Green Paper?

Sometimes the Government department will publish a Green Paper outlining the ideas for a Bill and seek comments and advice from affected organisations.

These comments are summarised by civil servants and passed on to the relevant minister.

What is a White Paper?

The department will publish a White Paper which outlines firm proposals which will be contained in the Bill. This White Paper will form the basis of the Bill to be introduced to Parliament.

Who writes the Bill?

The Bill is drafted by parliamentary draftsmen, who are lawyers skilled in drafting Bills. They must ensure that the Bill is clear and unambiguous.


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