Act of Parliament

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An act of Parliament (Act of Parliament)[1] is a statute (commonly called a law) enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament.

In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow sense, as the formal description of a law passed in certain territories, and in a wider (generic) sense for primary legislation passed in any country.

Contents

Bills

A draft act of Parliament is known as a bill.

In territories with a Westminster system, most bills that have any possibility of becoming law are introduced into parliament by the government. This will usually happen following the publication of a "white paper", setting out the issues and the way in which the proposed new law is intended to deal with them. A bill may also be introduced into parliament without formal government backing; this is known as a private member's bill.

In territories with a multicameral parliament, most bills may be first introduced in any chamber. However, certain types of legislation are required, either by constitutional convention or by law, to be introduced into a specific chamber. For example, bills imposing a tax, or involving public expenditure, are introduced into the House of Commons in the United Kingdom by convention, and in Canada's House of Commons and Ireland's Dáil as a matter of law. Conversely, bills proposed by the Law Commission and consolidation bills traditionally start in the House of Lords.

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