About Non-Executive Bills
Most primary legislation that passes through the Northern Ireland Assembly is brought forward by the relevant Minister, however bills can also be introduced by an individual Member or Assembly Committees.
Before introducing a Public Bill, the individual Member or Committee must first lodge an initial proposal with the Bill Office. This should consist of the proposed short title of the Bill and a brief explanation of its proposed purpose or policy objective. They are then required to conduct a consultation on their proposal. Exceptionally, they may lodge a written a statement of reasons in the Bill Office, making the case for proceeding to drafting without engaging in consultation (e.g. where a full public consultation has already been held). Subject to the Speaker’s acceptance of the reasons, this would exempt them from the obligation to consult. In such cases, the member or Committee are still expected to notify the relevant Minister(s), Committee(s) and key stakeholders.
The Member or Committee is required to lodge their consultation paper with the Bill Office within 6 months of the date on which the initial proposal was lodged. A final proposal should then be lodged with the Bill Office as soon as possible after the end of consultation and in any case within 6 months of the consultation paper being lodged.
Once completed, the final legislative proposal will be submitted to the Speaker. Subject to the Speaker’s approval, the Assembly will provide access to the drafting service.