Examining legislation

Published 26/06/2023   |   Last Updated 30/08/2023   |   Reading Time minutes

Legislation is a law or a set of laws that have been agreed (or “passed”) by a parliament.

Committees have an important role in examining legislation, before and after it’s passed.


Proposed laws, known as 'bills', are looked at by the Senedd in different stages. Some of these stages involve committees.

Stage 1

A bill is normally sent to committees to look at. Committees hear from the public, organisations and experts – in writing and in person – about the bill and the effect it’ll have if it’s passed.

Committees make a recommendation to the Senedd about whether or not to agree with the bill’s “general principles”. A bill’s general principles are about its purpose - what it is trying to do and the problem it is aiming to solve.

Following a debate in Plenary, the Senedd either agrees that the bill should progress or decides that it should go no further.

Stage 2

If the Senedd agrees that the bill should progress beyond Stage 1 a committee will look at detailed changes to it (known as “amendments”). Every Member of the Senedd can suggest (or “table”) an amendment, but only committee members are able to vote on them at this stage.

Other stages

Generally, two more stages follow committee consideration of a bill. These involve all Members of the Senedd.

Stage 3 takes place in Plenary, with Members looking at amendments.

Stage 4 is also held in Plenary, and this is a debate and vote on whether to pass the final text of the bill.


Act of the Senedd

If a bill is agreed by the Senedd, and is given Royal Assent by the monarch, it becomes law and is known as an “Act of the Senedd”.


Pre-legislative and post-legislative scrutiny

Sometimes committees can look at draft bills before they’re formally introduced to the Senedd, and suggest improvements. This is known as “pre-legislative scrutiny”.

Committees can also look at laws after they’ve been passed, to examine how they are working. This is known as “post-legislative scrutiny”.


Subordinate legislation

Subordinate legislation is law created by government ministers under powers given to them by an Act.

It’s used to provide more detail about how a law will work in practice, to keep laws that already exist up to date, and to set the date for when parts of a new law will come into force.

The committee that does most of the work relating to subordinate legislation is the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee.




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