- "Consolidation Act" redirects here; not to be confused with the Royal Navy Consolidation Act 1749 or the Pennsylvania Act of Consolidation, 1854.
A consolidation bill is a bill introduced into the Parliament of the United Kingdom with the intention of consolidating several Acts of Parliament or Statutory Instruments into a single Act. Such bills simplify the statute book without significantly changing the state of the law, and are subject to an expedited Parliamentary procedure.
Consolidation bills are introduced in the House of Lords which, by convention, has primacy in these matters. The Lords has the only substantive discussion on the bill, at its second reading, before the bill is sent to a joint committee of both Houses which may propose amendments to it. Subject to this, the Lords' third reading and all readings in the House of Commons are usually formalities and pass without debate.
Most consolidation bills are proposed in the first instance by the Law Commission, and it is this prior consideration that gives rise to the expedited process afforded to these bills. Every consolidation bill proposed by the Law Commission has been passed by Parliament.
Once a consolidation bill receives royal assent it becomes a consolidation Act. An example of a consolidation Act is the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, which consolidated into a single Act parts of sentencing legislation previously spread across twelve separate Acts.
Categories of consolidation bills
There are five categories of bill that qualify as consolidation bills:
- Bills which only re-enact existing law.
- Bills which consolidate previous laws with amendments, proposed in response to recommendations from the Law Commission.
- Bills to repeal existing legislation, again prepared by the Law Commission.
- Bills to repeal various obsolete or unnecessary parts of existing legislation.
- Bills which make corrections and minor improvements to existing legislation, prepared under the Consolidation of Enactments (Procedure) Act 1949.
The first three categories now account for almost all consolidation bills.
Recent consolidation Acts
Examples of consolidation Acts include the following:
- Merchant Shipping Act 1995
- Shipping and Trading Interests (Protection) Act 1995
- Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995
- Police Act 1996
- Employment Tribunals Act 1996
- Employment Rights Act 1996
- Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1996
- Education Act 1996
- School Inspections Act 1996
- Architects Act 1997
- Lieutenancies Act 1997
- Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act 1997
- Justices of the Peace Act 1997
- Petroleum Act 1998
- Audit Commission Act 1998
- Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000
- European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002
- Parliamentary Costs Act 2006
- Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006
- National Health Service Act 2006
- National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006
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