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[Sticky] Writing a Bill
Bill writing doesn't need to be hard. This isn't a game about law; it's a game about Politics. So your Bill should be written in plain English and explain what it does rather than the legal technicality of how it is done.
You can use the template below. In particular:
Replace <blue words in guillemets> as appropriate for your Bill.
You should only have one part from within each set of #yellow words in hashes#. The rest should be deleted.
*Red words in asterisks* explain what each section is for. Don't forget to remove them before you post!
*Names of Acts are boring and descriptive. No "Patriot Act" or "No Child Left Behind Act" here. They are often of the form Subject Area (Specific Thing) Act, so the previous examples could be called something like Terrorism (Intelligence) Act and Education (Standards) Act.*
An Act to <say what your act does>; and for connected purposes. *This is the "long title". Don't be afraid to list a lot of things here, but don't go into great detail.*
BE IT ENACTED, by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:— *This line is always the same so leave it alone, unless you're using the Parliament Acts to force your Bill through in which case this changes, but we'll worry about that at the time.*
(1) <A definition is a description of a thing that is relevant to this Act.>
(2) <"Act" has the same meaning as in Section 21 of the Interpretation Act 1978.>
(1) <Put the things your Bill does in here.>
(2) <If your Bill does lots of things, feel free to copy this Section and group related things together.>
(3) <If you do have more than one of these Sections, don't forget to rename them and renumber everything.>
(1) <If your changes don't apply to certain people or in certain circumstances, don't forget to list them here.>*This is important, as it's about who your law will affect. If you don't exclude a group you should, they might get mad.*
(1) There is to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund any funds attributable to the provisions of this Act. *If your changes cost money, this authorises the money to be paid*
5. Short title, commencement and extent
(1) This Act may be cited as the <Name of Act> Act <YEAR>. *Copy what you called it at the top*
(2) This Act comes into force on #30th February 2099.##the day it is passed.##such day as the Secretary of State may by Order appoint; and different days may be appointed for different purposes.#*Do your changes need a transitional period? Do different parts need to take effect at different times or in a particular order?*
(3) This Act extends to #the whole United Kingdom.##England.##England and Wales.##England, Scotland and Wales.# *Check whether your changes are in a devolved area, or the SNP won't be happy! Changes to courts or the judicial system are normally Eng and Wales only, as Scotland's legal system is different.*
An Act to provide the public with a right to access government information; and for connected purposes.
BE IT ENACTED, by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
(1) "Applicant" means an individual who makes an application for information under this Act
(2) "Public body" means any public sector organisation except those that deal with the security of the realm.
(3) "Unreasonable cost" means more than £250. This amount is amendable via regulation made by the Secretary of State.
(1) An applicant may apply in writing to any public body requesting that they disclose any information that they hold.
(2) The public body must respond within 20 days setting out if they hold the information, and if so, provide the information or set out a reasonable timescale for the provision of the information if it is not immediately available.
(3) A public body may refuse a request if it does not hold information, if a request is too vague to identify any information the body may hold, or if it is covered by an exception under section 3. An applicant may appeal this decision.
(4) There shall be an Information Commissioner, appointed by the Crown, who shall be responsible for assessing appeals and advising a public body on its request on whether they will be covered by an exception.
(1) There are absolute exceptions to the requirement under section 2 for the following:
(a) court proceedings;
(b) personal information;
(c) information provided in confidence;
(d) information where disclosure is otherwise illegal or would constitute contempt of court.
(2) The following are excepted from the requirement under section 2 unless it is considered that there is a strong public interest in the information being made public:
(a) law enforcement;
(b) advice to government ministers on policy development;
(c) commercial interests and trade secrets;
(d) information that would have an unreasonable cost to collect and provide.
(1) There is to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund any funds attributable to the provisions of this Act.
5. Short title, commencement and extent
(1) This Act may be cited as the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
(2) This Act comes into force upon Royal Assent.
(3) This Act extends to England and Wales.