Chapter 9 of the Parliament’s Standing Orders sets out the rules that govern the Parliament’s scrutiny of Public Bills. This Guidance aims to explain those rules and how they are applied in practice.

The Guidance takes account of changes to the Standing Orders, and the development of practice and precedent, since the first version of the Session 5 edition was published in June 2016. It is intended to be a reference resource for members, staff of the Parliament and Scottish Government, and anyone else with an interest in the legislative process.

The rules and practices explained in the Guidance are accurate as at 1 March 2018. Procedures and practices continue to develop, and further versions of this Guidance will be published as appropriate.

Standing Orders use the terms “member of the Scottish Government”, “junior Scottish Ministers” and “the Scottish Ministers”. The members of the Scottish Government are the First Minister, the Law Officers (the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General) and Ministers appointed under section 47 of the Scotland Act 1998. These office-holders are also collectively known as “the Scottish Ministers”. “Junior Scottish Ministers” are appointed under section 49 of that Act to assist the Scottish Ministers in the exercise of their functions. The current administration uses the terms “Cabinet Secretary” and “Minister” to refer, respectively, to Ministers appointed under section 47 and junior Scottish Ministers. In this Guidance we use the terms used in the 1998 Act and Standing Orders.

The Guidance was prepared by the Legislation Team in the Parliament’s Chamber Office. Comments or queries on this Guidance, or on Public Bill procedure generally, are welcome. The Legislation Team clerks can advise on any aspect of the Guidance and Standing Orders, and can be contacted at—

Legislation Team
The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP
Tel: 0131 348 5277

For information in languages other than English or in alternative formats (for example Braille, large print or audio), please send your enquiry to Public Information, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP.

You can also contact Public Information by telephone on 0800 092 7500 or 0131 348 5000, by Textphone on 0800 092 7100 or by using the Text Relay service.

Alternatively, you can email, or text 07786 209888. Written correspondence in any language is welcomed.

March 2018

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