Presentation and printing of bills

45.2Where, in respect of a petition for a private bill, the Examiner has reported that the standing orders have been complied with, the bill itself must be presented to the House on 21 January, or, if the House is not sitting on that day, on the first sitting day thereafter, or if the Examiner's report is laid on the Table on or after 21 January, on the first sitting day after the report was laid.1 Where the Examiner has reported non-compliance and the House, on considering the report from the Standing Orders Committee that the standing orders ought to be dispensed with, gives leave to the parties to proceed with their bill, the bill must be presented not later than the following day, or, if leave was given before 21 January, on that day, or if the House is not sitting on that day, on the next sitting day.

A private bill is presented to the House by being deposited in the Private Bill Office. It must be laid upon the Table of the House by the clerk in that office on the next sitting day.2

Every private bill must be printed, and printed copies3 must be delivered, on or before 27 November, to the Vote Office for the use of Members and in the Private Bill Office for the use of agents and others interested. The Speaker has permitted this requirement to be dispensed with in the case of a personal bill (see para 43.3 ). For purposes of presentation a private bill must be printed on A4-size paper in the same style as public bills4 and enclosed in a cover of parchment, upon which the title is written; the short title of the bill, as first entered in the Votes and Proceedings, must correspond with that at the head of the advertisement. This copy of the bill is called the ‘House Copy’. The House of Lords undertakes the printing of private bills for promoters, for which a charge is levied. The text of all private bills is also published on the Parliament website.

Standing Order 38 requires the attachment to every copy of the bill of an explanatory memorandum, describing the bill generally and the effect of every substantive clause, together with a statement of opinion, by or on behalf of the promoters, as to the compatibility of the provisions of the bill with rights under the European Convention as defined in the Human Rights Act 1998 (see para 43.4 ).

Standing Order 168 provides that ‘subject to the provisions of Standing Order 156A [see para 45.4 ], all charges in any way affecting the public revenue, which occur in the clauses of any private bill, shall be printed in italics'. (This differs from the arrangement for public bills, see para 28.14.)

Every private bill which involves, or in respect of which there has been promised, a grant from any government department must, on presentation, have bound with it a printed statement in the form of a financial memorandum describing the grant and showing the amount.5 No such memorandum is required when the question of a government grant only arises because the bill contains provisions of the types mentioned in Standing Order 156A (see para 45.4 ), nor is one necessarily required merely because the bill involves expenditure from public funds.


  1. 1. SO 163.
  2. 2. By the Speaker's private ruling of October 1945, private bills are presented by the Clerk of the House, and it is no longer necessary for Members to present such bills or have their names printed on the back of them.
  3. 3. These copies must have bound up with them any financial memoranda required by SO 169.
  4. 4. Speaker's order of 24 June 1986.
  5. 5. SO 169.