Commitment of bills other than to a Committee of the whole House

29.50Various procedures have been developed to afford scrutiny of public bills either instead of or additional to that in Committee of the whole House or Grand Committee. These are:

  1. public bill committee;
  2. special public bill committee; and
  3. select or joint committee.

The purpose of these procedures is either to save the time of the House itself by taking the committee stage off the floor or to enable more detailed examination of bills to take place, involving the hearing of evidence. Public bill committees (like Grand Committees) fall into the first category and the other procedures fall into the second.

Bills may be considered under these procedures only if the House has agreed to a particular order of commitment, on a motion moved after the second reading. It is usual for such a motion to be moved immediately after the second reading has been agreed to. However, a motion to commit a bill to a select or joint committee may be moved at any time before third reading; and a motion that the order of commitment to a Committee of the whole House (or to a Grand Committee) be discharged and that an alternative order be made may be moved any day before the committee stage begins. Notice is required of any such motion. The members of a public bill committee, special public bill committee, select committee or joint committee are subsequently appointed by the House on the recommendation of the Committee of Selection.