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I thought that the number of Acts passed based on Bills originating in the House of Lords was small when compared to that of the House of Commons.

But on the following link https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16.html I can quickly see a number of Bills received Royal Assent having originated in the House of Lords.

Was I wrong to think only a small proportion of UK law originates from the Lords?

Is the House of Lords being used as a procedural tool by the Executive, so that “originating in the House of Lords” is not what it at first seems (ie a Lord proposing a Bill that becomes an Act)?

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    Right. Bills that the govt wants to pass can be originated in the Lords or Commons. It's purely to be with timetabling I think but hopefully someone will know more detail. The advantage of starting in the Commons is that they can use the Parliament Act to override the Lords if they vote against it. – Anush Sep 29 '18 at 14:01
  • Thank you. Does this mean that most or all of the Bills receiving Royal Assent that “originated in the Lords”, are actually there are the behest of the Executive (ie the MPs making up the Cabinet?) as a way of optimising the use of time available? Is the procedure that the Executive finds a Lord willing to sponsor a Bill to kick off the process? – Ben Sep 29 '18 at 14:05
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    Yes the govt is in charge of the legislative chamber because it has a majority, by definition, in the UK. It is completely different to the US where there is no equivalent national government. – Anush Sep 29 '18 at 14:07
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    It is not at behest of the MPs. It is at the behest of the govt, whose party will also have a majority of MPs. – Anush Sep 29 '18 at 14:09
  • OK thanks. And there is a mechanism for Lords Private Members’ Bills too? ie. for Lords to initiate legislation of their own. Is this Executive-driven use of the Lords effectively using the Lords Private Members’ Bill route? – Ben Sep 29 '18 at 14:09
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Is the House of Lords being used as a procedural tool by the Executive, so that “originating in the House of Lords” is not what it at first seems (ie a Lord proposing a Bill that becomes an Act)?

Sort of. Acts of Parliament (apart from money bills) can be introduced in either house, and for the most part, there is no particular significance to where a bill starts its passage through Parliament.

The Government controls the schedule in both houses (even though no party has a majority in the Lords), and so to balance the houses' workload over the course of a parliamentary session, it introduces bills in both houses, some at the start of a session, and others later on.

Was I wrong to think only a small proportion of UK law originates from the Lords?

Yes - and note that most Acts "originate" with the Government, rather than any particular individual (though many private members' bills are introduced, with most not becoming Acts). Which house they use to start a bill's passage is (mostly) a matter of scheduling.

From a comment:

Is the procedure that the Executive finds a Lord willing to sponsor a Bill to kick off the process?

It's not necessary to find a "willing" peer (Lord); each government department already has ministers who are also peers; see the names marked in red here. A minister from the relevant department will introduce the bill, just as happens in the Commons.

[Is there] a mechanism for Lords Private Members’ Bills too?

Yes.

  • I think it's hard for Americans to understand quite how different the UK legislative process is to theirs. – Anush Sep 29 '18 at 18:22
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    @Anush: indeed; though I think the OP might be British. – Steve Melnikoff Sep 29 '18 at 19:55
  • Oh ok. I guessed he wasn't by his use of the word executive but I am probably wrong. – Anush Sep 29 '18 at 19:56
  • Thank you. Is it correct to say that, in a sense, the bills introduced in the Lords by peers as an expedience are not really originating in the Lords. It is the Government who is the originator in these cases, and the Lords/a Lord simply “looks like” it is? – Ben Sep 29 '18 at 22:10
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    A government bill originates from the government, and is introduced in one of the Houses of Parliament by a minister. The process in each house is very similar, and there is a clear difference between government bills and private members’ bills. The designation “[HL]” after a bill’s name merely – Steve Melnikoff Sep 29 '18 at 22:34

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