Most primary legislation that passes through the Northern Ireland Assembly is brought forward by the relevant Minister. Bills can also be introduced by an individual Member or Assembly Committees.
Statutory Rules are made to bring subordinate legislation law. Primary legislation (Acts) provides the powers to make subordinate legislation in the form of Statutory Rules (Regulations, Rules, Order and Bye-laws).
In general terms primary legislation provides the framework and subordinate legislation contains the details. As primary legislation takes up Assembly time, changes and amendments to the content of various legal measures can be made more quickly by the subordinate legislation process.
The Examiner assists the Assembly and the appropriate Committees (that is, the Statutory Committees) in the technical scrutiny of statutory rules and draft statutory rules which are subject to procedures before the Assembly.
COVID-19 Related Statutory Rules
Watch how a Bill becomes a law
Do you know how many stages a Bill has to go before it becomes it becomes a law? Find out now by watching this clip from our new web programme - Assembly Extra.
The video has subtitles available. Alternatively you can read the transcript below:
[00:00:15.010] The Assembly has the power to make laws on things like health, education and planning.
[00:00:20.500] Known as devolved matters. Every law starts off as a bill which can be proposed by a government department an Assembly Committee or an MLA.
[00:00:31.870] First of all, the Speaker checks to make sure the Assembly has the power to make the law. If it does, the bill starts its passage through the Assembly. The title of the bill is read out to the Assembly, but the contents not actually discussed at this stage.
[00:00:50.550] Clip from the Chamber (There's the business, the first stage of the justice bill and I call the Justice Minister. Minister.
[00:00:55.980] Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I beg to move the Justice Bill. )
[00:01:01.200] MLAs get a copy of the bill and have at least five working days to review it. MLAs debate and vote on the general principles of the bill.
[00:01:13.200] If a majority vote in favour of the bill, then it goes to Committee stage. A Committee has 30 working days or longer if it needs to examine the bill and get people's views. The Committee produces a report which helps MLAs decide what amendments they want to propose.
[00:01:33.710] Clip from a Committee (I think there's a good piece of work here it's up to us to amend it, this clause amendment that we, and we'll seek further clarification,
[00:01:40.280] We want that in place to ensure that happens. We've also asked for a review, a two year review to see how this is rolled out on the ground.
[00:01:48.320] We need certainly a mechanism to check to see how this law works.)
[00:02:00.050] The bill is brought back to the Assembly for MLAs to debate and vote on the detail and any proposed amendments. If these don't pass the vote, they don't form part of the bill.
[00:02:10.400] Clip from the Assembly (The question is that Amendment one be made? All those in favour say Aye contrary if any No. Do we have tellers? 95 members voted, 26 members voted. 69 members voted no. The amendment falls.
[00:02:32.250] The amendment members falls.)
[00:02:41.720] MLAs now have one last chance to make changes to the bill by proposing and voting on any further amendments.
[00:02:47.790] Clip from the Assembly (The question is that Amendment 8 be made a new clause 9B stand part of the bill. All those in favour say Aye contrary if any No. The Ayes have it.
[00:02:58.290] The Ayes have it.
[00:03:06.480] Clip from the Assembly (I welcome the fact that this important bill has now entered its final stage. And I wish to take the opportunity of thanking the Chair of the Environment Committee. And indeed all of the members of the House who contributed to this bill throughout its process.)
[00:03:17.640] The entire bill is discussed a final time and there's a vote on whether it should become law. The bill goes to the Attorney General for final checks before it is passed to the Secretary of State, who presents it for Royal Assent.
[00:03:32.730] Once Royal Assent is received. The bill becomes law and is known as an Act.