Acts of Parliament are the source of the most fundamental, important statutory laws in the United Kingdom. The process of creating an Act of Parliament is lengthy and complex, with interplay between many different governmental units. All Acts of Parliament begin as an idea, usually a response to some noted problem or social issue in the United Kingdom. These ideas become legislative bills are when a particular government department decides to sponsor the bill and introduce it into Parliament for passage. Bills may start their passage in either the House of Commons or House of Lords.
Although the government sponsor will get official credit for drafting the bill, the process of drafting the bill often occurs long before the sponsor puts its name on the bill. Before a bill is introduced in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords, a period of consultation will take place among entities which may be affected by the passage of the bill.
The Parliament will appoint a Committee to oversee the Consultation and Drafting process for the bill.
During consultation, Government departments, such as the Treasury, will be consulted in order to determine the capacity of the Government to achieve legislative goals. Also, non-governmental parties with an interest in the legislation, e.g. political interest groups, industry lobbyists, and trade associations, will be asked for their views on how the bill would affect their constituencies. After receiving input from all of the selected groups, the Government will usually consolidate and summarize the positions into a document explaining the bill and its rationale, known as a White Paper.
Many draft bills, written by different groups, are circulated amongst the committee in order to present to the committee alternative terms to use in achieving the goals and concerns identified through the Consultation.
More specifically, draft bills allow the Parliament to extended time to understand the actual processes of the bill, which helps them identify potential problems with the legislation. If an error or omission is identified, departments can offer proposals to the Committee in response.
After finishing the consultation process, the bill's sponsor will then submit specific instructions to Parliamentary counsel describing the general functions and goals of the bill, while leaving the specific language and terms to the drafting counsel. This drafting counsel will typically be composed of government lawyers with substantial legal expertise in a particular legal field and/or legislative drafting. The job of the drafting counsel is extremely important, as they are responsible for ensuring the bill complies with all procedural and constitutional requirements for new legislation.
After the drafting counsel finishes the drafting the bill, they will return it for approval by the sponsoring department, minister, parliamentary council, and Legislative Programme. After the bill is approved by each organization, the sponsoring department will submit the bill to either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Upon arrival in either House, the bill will be checked to ensure it complies with House rules and conventions regarding construction and style.
More importantly, the bill will be checked to ensure that it does not conflict with either the Royal Prerogative or prior bills.
The bill is officially presented for the first time in Parliament in the "First Reading." The First Reading is actually quite short and contains no Parliamentary debate at all. It is more of a formality followed to identify the origin of the bill and to place Parliamentary members on notice of the bill.
The first substantive debate on the bill occurs during the Second Reading. During the Second Reading, Members of Parliament are allowed to debate general principles of the bill but not the individual clauses. Thus, the Second Reading reflects the Consultation process between the sponsoring department, interest groups, and relevant Parliamentary committees. After hearing the debate on the general principles of the bill, the House will vote on the bill.
If the bill passes the initial vote in the Second Reading, it will enter the Committee stage where the actual language of the bill is scrutinised by various Parliamentary committees. The Committee stage, then, is reflective of the work of the government lawyers on the Parliamentary counsel responsible for drafting the bill. A Public Bill Committee will be created to oversee amendments to the bill. The committee considers each clause of the bill, and may make amendments to the bill. After the Committee adds the amendments to the bill, the bill will proceed to the Report Stage, where the amendments added by the Public Bill Committee are considered by the House.
After the Public Bill Committee finishes its amendments to the bill, a debate on the final text of the bill will occur in the Third Reading, followed by a final vote. Additional amendments can be made in the House of Lords. However, additional amendments are not permitted in the House of Commons. If the final bill is approved during the Third Reading, the bill is then sent to the other House of Parliament, which may reject or amend the bill.
If the other House amends the bill, the bill and amendments are sent back for a further stage. The House of Commons may reject a bill from the House of Lords without further debate. However, if the House of Lords reject a bill from the House of Commons, the House of Commons may force it through without the approval of the House of Lords in the following Session of Parliament. Another limitation on the House of Lords is that it cannot initiate or amend bills dealing government revenues and expenditures. If the receiving House proposes new amendments to the bill, the submitting House will consider those amendments. The House considering the amendments may either agree to them, amend them, reject them, or propose alternative amendments.
B. Consider and evaluate the techniques by which courts may influence the application of legislation.
The role of Courts in the United Kingdom is to apply the law to the facts, deriving authority for their decisions largely from statutory law such as that created through Acts of Parliament. In countries with a Civil Law system, such as France or Germany, courts are not allowed to derive authority from prior cases and rely mostly on the civil code for guidance in making decisions.
However, the United Kingdom does not follow a Civil Law system, but Common Law system.
In the United Kingdom, courts may rely on legal principles established by earlier court decisions for judicial authority. These legal principles are referred to as precedent. The body of precedent is called "common law" and this common law provides guidance and authority for future court decisions.
Indeed, not only may courts rely on legal precedent in deciding a case, in some cases, they must rely on legal precedent when deciding a case. This rule is known as Stare Decisis, a central feature of Common law which requires courts to respect the precedents established by prior decisions.
Because of the interpretive power granted to them in the Common Law system, courts may influence the application of legislation in a number of ways. For instance, the Supreme Court can overturn primary legislation over issues of Parliamentary procedure, such as conflict with the Royal Prerogative or conflict with prior legislation, which are grounds for rejection by the Parliamentary House Clerk upon its arrival in the House and before First Reading.
Essentially, the Supreme Court would decide that Parliament failed to properly observe its own procedural rules, which would mean that the original bill should never have made it to First Reading.
The Supreme Court's power to overturn legislation, however, is limited because it cannot overturn primary legislation for being "unconstitutional," a broad power which has given the United States Supreme Court great influence on legislative policy in the United States.
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom can, however, overturn secondary legislation, which is legislation made by the executive authority responsible for administering primary legislation.
The Court may find that the executive authority, in creating a piece of secondary legislation, exceeded the powers granted to it by primary legislation. Because this executive authority is often responsible for the actual enforcement of legislation, judicial limits on that authority can prevent enforcement, thereby frustrating the Parliament's legislative goals.
A more subtle technique courts use to influence application is their authority in interpreting Parliamentary legislation. In applying legislation in a particular case, courts may interpret the legislation in a novel or unexpected way in order to make it inapplicable to a particular case. In addition to their authority to interpret the law, courts can also interpret the facts to some extent. Courts may choose to emphasize or omit certain facts in their decisions in order to align the cases with certain precedent preferred by the Court, allowing them to apply common law principles.
Formation of Contract
In order to determine how Janice will obtain relief for the failure of…