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Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick
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Part IV - The Procedure for a Private Bill

PROCEDURE FOR A PRIVATE BILL

The procedure in connection with Private Bills differs very materially from that which governs Public Bills. A Public Bill is simply prepared and introduced, but before a Private Bill can be brought before the Legislative Assembly, there are several matters which must be attended to. A Private Bill is one which relates to private or local matters, or is for some particular private interest or benefit. Therefore, before any special favour of this nature is granted, the Legislative Assembly requires to be satisfied that no other rights or interests would be prejudiced by granting the special legislation sought to be obtained. The Standing Rules of the Legislative Assembly require that a notice specifying clearly and distinctly the nature and objects of a proposed Bill be published once in the Royal Gazette and at least once a week for three successive weeks in a newspaper having a general circulation in the area where reside the parties or the majority of the parties, interested in, and affected by, the Bill. Proof by affidavit or statutory declaration that the requirements of the Standing Rules have been complied with must be furnished.

The following steps briefly summarize the procedure for a Private Bill before its introduction in the Legislative Assembly.

DRAFTING STAGE

A Member of the Legislative Assembly, not a Minister of the Crown, has been requested by constituents to introduce legislation on their behalf with respect to a matter falling under the definition of Private Bills.

The Private Bill or proposal is turned over by the constituents to a lawyer practising in New Brunswick who drafts a Bill for presentation by a member of the Legislative Assembly.

ADVERTISING

The advertising for a Private Bill should be completed early in the calendar year so that the Bill may be considered in the Spring sitting. As required by the Standing Rules, a notice of the proposed legislation must be published in both official languages in the Royal Gazette at least two weeks prior to filing the application. The notice must run once a week for three successive weeks in at least one newspaper circulated in the locality most affected by the Bill. The notice must specify, clearly and distinctly, the nature and object of the proposed legislation. The notice must also state the name and address of the applicant.

FILING

The applicant files a draft of the Private Bill in both official languages with the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly together with an affidavit or statutory declaration proving publication of the necessary notices.

The Clerk forwards a copy of the draft Bill to the Deputy Minister of Justice.

The Bill will be examined to determine whether the subject-matter is within the competency of the Legislature; to remove any errors or improprieties; and, generally, to ensure that it is in proper form. Any substantial point in connection with either the form or substance of a Bill is settled after discussion with the applicant's solicitor.

The Clerk then forwards a copy of the final draft to the Queen's Printer who prints all Private Bills. Copies of the Bill are made and delivered to the member of the Legislative Assembly who will sponsor the Bill on behalf of the constituents.

Once the requirements for an application for a Private Bill are met, the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly so certifies and the member of the Legislative Assembly sponsoring the Bill may introduce the Bill for first reading.

The following chart shows the route of the Private Bill through the New Brunswick Legislature.

FIRST READING

When a Private Bill has received first reading it stands referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills. The Bill is ordered printed and is available for public distribution.

STANDING COMMITTEE ON PRIVATE BILLS

The Standing Committee on Private Bills familiarizes itself with the Bill and determines whether or not it shall be approved with or without amendments. Sponsors of the Bill or their agent are required to appear before the Committee. Persons whose interest or property may be affected by the Bill may also appear before the Committee to express consent or any objection, or may consent in writing.

REPORT STAGE

The Standing Committee on Private Bills then reports the Bill to the House:

1. favourably

2. favourably, with amendments

3. unfavourably (not recommended to the favourable consideration of the House)

SECOND READING

When ordered for second reading, the Bill title and number as printed on the Order and Notice Paper are read by the Clerk. A Bill on second reading is debatable.

THIRD READING

After second reading, Private Bills are ordered for third reading unless five members signify that the Bill should be ordered for the Committee of the Whole House. When ordered for third reading, the Clerk reads the title and number of the Bill a third time.

ROYAL ASSENT

The Lieutenant-Governor attends a sitting of the Legislative Assembly and gives Royal Assent to the Bill. The Bill becomes law at this stage.

Following Royal Assent the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly forwards to the applicant a certified copy of the Act.

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