Fees payable on private bills
43.18The fees which are chargeable in either House upon the various stages of private bills and are payable by the several parties promoting or opposing such bills, are specified in the Table of Fees annexed to the private business standing orders of both Houses. It is declared by the Commons in the Table of Fees that the ‘fees shall be charged, paid and received at such times, in such manner and under such regulations as the Speaker shall from time to time direct’.
In 1999, each House set the fees for first and third readings at £4,000.1 One-twentieth of the prescribed fees may be charged for proceedings in the two Houses on personal bills, and one quarter for bills relating to charitable, religious, educational, literary or scientific purposes from which no private profit or advantage is derived. Applications for such concessions in the House of Commons are submitted to the Speaker.2 A single fee of £20 is payable on submission of each petition against a private bill. For fees chargeable on hybrid bills, see para 30.67.
The Speaker and the Senior Deputy Speaker have power to prohibit, either absolutely or temporarily, an agent who defaults in the payment of the fees of the House, from practising in that capacity.3 Petitioners in person who have defaulted may be prevented from petitioning on a matter of private business on a future occasion until outstanding fees are paid.4
- 1. CJ (1999–2000) 528. In the case of Special Procedure Orders, a fee of £2,000 is payable by an applicant (other than a Minister) before a joint committee on an order.
- 2. Fees were remitted in the case of the Red Cross and Order of St John Bill [Lords] in 1918, and for the Richmond Burgage Pastures Bill in 2016. In 1604, counsel was assigned to a party, in a private bill, in forma pauperis, he ‘being a very poor man’, CJ (1547–1628) 241.
- 3. See Erskine May (21st edn, 1989), p 834, Rules 21 and 22.
- 4. Speaker's private ruling, 7 December 1977.