Stage 3: Final consideration stage

What is stage 3?

Stage 3 is the final opportunity for MSPs to propose amendments to a bill in order to tidy up the wording of the bill and debate important issues relating to it. For example, the MSP in charge of the bill might lodge amendments to address issues that were raised by other MSPs at stage 2. 

How does stage 3 work?

Stage 3 takes place in the Chamber in two parts, usually both on the same day.

Consideration of amendments

First, the Parliament considers and decides on any stage 3 amendments that have been lodged. Amendments at stage 3 are dealt with in largely the same way as at stage 2 and similar documents are produced. As at stage 2, only MSPs can lodge amendments.

Unlike stage 2, the Presiding Officer decides which amendments can be debated at stage 3. For example, if an amendment is lodged at stage 3, but a similar amendment was lodged and debated at stage 2 but received little support, the Presiding Officer may decide not to select it on the grounds that it has already been fully debated. The criteria the Presiding Officer uses for selecting amendments are published in the Guidance on Public Bills (paragraphs 4.9-4.26). 

Debate on the bill

After all amendments have been dealt with, there is a debate on whether or not the bill should be passed.

The decision on whether or not to pass the bill will be taken at Decision Time. If the Parliament does not agree to pass the bill, it falls and will not become law.

There is more information on how to follow a stage 3 meeting on the page below.

Continue to after stage 3 

Stage 3 video

Please note that the video feature is not compatible with all internet browsers. You can view the stage 3 video on the Adobe Spark website.

There is also a PDF version:

Get involved


If you want to propose amendments to MSPs, get in touch with them as early as possible following the end of stage 2. MSPs need time to consider options and the deadlines for lodging amendments are strict.

Where to look

Details of the timetable for stage 3, including deadlines for lodging amendments, are announced in the Parliament’s Business Bulletin.

Timescales and rules

The date for the stage 3 proceedings will be proposed in a business motion, usually around two weeks before the proceedings are due to take place. Once agreed, it will appear in the Business Bulletin, usually two weeks before the business is due to take place. The date will also be added to the relevant bill page under Current Bills.

For more information see the Timescales and rules section.

Legislation Team

For more information on law-making procedure in the Parliament you can contact the Legislation Team.

0131 348 5277   

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