Overview of legislative procedure and devolved legislative competence

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27.1This chapter describes changes in the legislative procedure at Westminster (and overwhelmingly in the House of Commons) arising from devolution. The consequences for the power and jurisdiction of Parliament of the devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland more generally are discussed at paras 11.911.13.

Paragraphs 27.2–27.5 describe territorial adaptations of legislative procedure which were established prior to legislative devolution and remain part of the practice of the House of Commons, although in many cases much less used than in the past. Paragraph 27.6 describes the practices of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords relating to Legislative Consent Motions of the devolved legislatures.

The remainder of the chapter briefly describes the changes made to House of Commons standing orders in operation from 22 October 2015 to 13 July 2021, which were generally referred to as ‘English Votes for English Laws’ (or ‘EVEL’).1

In relation to primary legislation in the House of Commons, the account in this chapter is intended to be largely self-contained, so that references to the operation of the new standing orders in Chapters 28 and 30 are relatively brief and refer back to relevant sections of this chapter. In relation to secondary legislation, the account in this chapter focuses on elements of the procedure which are common to both primary and secondary legislation.


  1. 1. For a full description of the operation of these Standing Orders, see Erskine May (25th edn, 2019), paras 27.7–27.29.