Primary Legislation

Primary legislation (Bills and Acts) is split into two categories – Public Bills and Private Bills (with Hybrid Bills in a sub-category between the two).

Public Bills are pieces of legislation that affect everyone and every organisation in the same way. For example, a Bill that introduces a new driving offence applies to everyone who drives or may ever learn to drive and no specific individual or organisation is exempted, making it a Public Bill. They also deal with government issues, so a Bill giving powers to a government body is a Public Bill. Most Bills are Public Bills to the extent that the term ‘Bill’ is assumed to mean a Public Bill. There are two types of Public Bills – Government Bills and Private Members’ Bills.

Private Bills affect only one person or organisation, treating that person or organisation differently from other comparable persons or organisations. For example, a Bill allowing a specific council to do something that other councils cannot do would be a Private Bill.

A Hybrid Bill is a Public Bill that has elements that single out certain individuals or organisations for different treatment. It is therefore neither Public nor Private but both. A Private Bill brought forward by the Government is a Hybrid Bill.