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About Bills

Information for objectors to Private Bills

Find out how to object to a Private Bill introduced in the Scottish Parliament.

Who can object?

Any individual, company or group of people who think that their interests would be adversely affected by a Private Bill can object to it. Where two or more objectors have similar concerns, they can lodge a joint objection rather than objecting individually. Where individual objections are lodged, they may be “grouped” by the Private Bill Committee and so considered together. 

Is there a time limit?

Objections must be lodged with the clerks no later than 60 days after the introduction of the Bill. This is known as the “objection period”. The closing date for objections will be advertised on the Parliament’s website. Late objections can sometimes be accepted if they are lodged with a statement explaining the delay.

What do I need to do?

An objection must:

  • be signed (by or on behalf of the objector) and dated
  • be in English or Gaelic
  • be printed, typed or clearly hand-written
  • include the objector’s name, address and other contact details
  • set out the nature of the objection
  • explain whether the objection is against the whole Bill or only certain provisions
  • specify how the objector’s interests would be adversely affected by the Bill. 

If all these criteria are met, the objection is “admissible” and will be considered by the Private Bill Committee.

The Guidance on Private Bills includes further information on how objections should be formatted

How do I lodge an objection?

Objections can be e-mailed, sent by post or delivered in person to the Non-Government Bills Unit (NGBU).

Please include confirmation that you have read and understood the privacy notice

What happens next?

NGBU will notify each objector whether their objection is admissible. In the case of an objection signed by more than one individual, NGBU will correspond with the principal signatory on the objection (and that signatory should be clearly identified).  It is the responsibility of that person to liaise with the other signatories.

At the end of the objection period a list of the names of those who have lodged admissible objections is published in the Parliament’s Business Bulletin.  The Business Bulletin includes details of the current and future business of the Parliament. It is published each morning when the Parliament is in session.

What is the role of MSPs in considering objections?

Each Private Bill is considered by a Committee of between three and five MSPs established for the purpose. The Committee, at Preliminary Stage, must consider all admissible objections lodged. If the Committee thinks an objector’s interests are not clearly adversely affected by the Bill, the objection will be rejected. The Committee conducts detailed scrutiny of the remaining objections at Consideration Stage, including by hearing directly from objectors and the promoter.

What if I change my mind?

An objector may withdraw an objection at any time after it is lodged, by notifying NGBU.   

Where can I find out more?

Standing Orders relevant to Private Bills

Guidance on Private Bills

Once the Private Bill has been introduced, information can be found in: 

Bills and accompanying documents

Private Bill Committees (once established) will be listed under Chamber and committees

Business Bulletin

Privacy notice for Private Bill objections

Contact details

Non-Government Bills Unit
The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

Telephone: 0131 348 5246

Textphone users can contact us on 0800 092 7100.  We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service. Text  07786 209 888




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