Eligibility for certification

27.10Only government bills are eligible for certification whether introduced in the Commons or brought from the Lords.1 Government hybrid bills are considered for certification in the same way as other government public bills.2 Some limited categories of government bills are excluded from consideration.3

Statutory instruments are almost invariably eligible for certification if they are to be debated. They must, however, fall into one of three categories: first, instruments that are subject to the affirmative procedure, whether they are to be debated in a delegated legislation committee or on the floor of the House; second, instruments subject to the negative procedure that have been prayed against and have either been referred to a delegated legislation committee or set down for debate on the floor of the House; third, draft orders considered by the Regulatory Reform Committee subject to the affirmative procedure or to associated proceedings in relation to recommendations of that Committee.4 This categorisation means that a revocation motion arising from an ‘out of time’ prayer would not create eligibility for certification.5 Under Standing Order No 83R, the instruments and proposals giving rise to motions to approve certain reports on local government and police finance and to give effect to real terms increases in tuition fees for English higher education institutions, which by their nature pass the tests for certification, are made subject to double majority voting (see para 27.25 ) without certification.6

The unit for consideration for certification in relation to a statutory instrument is the instrument as a whole, so that ‘every provision’ must meet the criteria for certification.7 In respect of bills, the bill as a whole is considered for certification, along with each clause and schedule within it.

Footnotes

  1. 1. SO No 83J(1)(a).
  2. 2. Speaker's certificate in respect of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill: Votes and Proceedings, 24 January 2018.
  3. 3. Those excluded are Supply and Appropriation Bills, bills certified as relating exclusively to Scotland, bills referred to the Welsh or Northern Ireland Grand Committee for consideration in relation to their principle, Consolidation Bills, bills whose main purpose is to give effect to proposals contained in a report by a Law Commission, a tax law rewrite bill and a bill introduced under the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act 1945 for confirming a provisional order: SO No 83J(10) and (11)(b).
  4. 4. SO No 83P(7)–(9). The motion to approve a draft order subject to the affirmative procedure which has been the subject of a recommendation agreed to without a division by the Regulatory Reform Committee that it be approved is put forthwith and thus debate is not possible. See para 31.37.
  5. 5. By settled practice, such a motion is held not to be ‘a motion for an humble address … or a motion of a similar character’ for the purposes of SO No 118(4)(a), which is the relevant requirement for the condition in SO No 83P(8).
  6. 6. SO No 83R. These are the annual Local Government Finance Report, the Revenue Support Grant Report, the Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases (Principles) (England) Report, the Police Grant Report (England and Wales) and a resolution relating to student fees under s 26(2)(b)(ii) of the Higher Education Act 2004. The Public Bill Office has suggested that a motion to approve the Referendums Relating to Council Tax Increases (Alternative Notional Amounts) (England) Report falls in the same category: Procedure Committee inquiry into EVEL – Technical review (EVL 14), para 13.
  7. 7. SO No 83P(2)(a) and (3).