Where bills originate

26.4As a general rule, bills may originate in either House. Government bills which are likely to arouse major controversy are generally introduced into the House of Commons. Governments nonetheless introduce a number of bills of importance and complexity in the House of Lords, and time the introduction of their bills in both Houses in order to maintain a reasonable balance and continuity of legislative activity throughout each session.

Because of the exclusive right of the House of Commons to grant supply and to impose and appropriate all charges upon the people, bills of aids and supplies (see para 33.21 ) must be introduced into that House (cf paras 28.3, 37.10 ). Standing Order No 80, however, makes it possible for a bill having as its main object the imposition of a charge on the people (except for a bill of aids and supplies) or on public funds to originate in the House of Lords, and, subject to the use of the usual devices for avoiding a breach of Commons financial privilege (see paras 29.67, 37.14 ), for such a bill to be taken charge of in the House of Commons by a Minister;1 nevertheless, by far the greater proportion of bills the main object of which is the imposition of a charge are introduced in the House of Commons. Consolidation bills, Law Commission bills, statute law repeal bills and other bills dealing with legal and judicial topics are normally introduced in the House of Lords.2 Bills which have affected the composition or powers of the Lords have been introduced and proceeded with in the Commons.3


  1. 1. CJ (1972–73) 154; ibid (1975–76) 327; ibid (1985–86) 133; ibid (1987–88) 253; ibid (2001–02) 149.
  2. 2. But not invariably: for example, Contract (Scotland) Bill 1997 (a Law Commission bill introduced in the Commons).
  3. 3. For example, Parliament (No 2) Bill 1969; House of Lords Bill 1999; House of Lords Reform Bill (2012–13): HC Deb (27 June 2012) 547, cc 307–8.