|Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick|
PROCEDURE FOR APPLYING FOR PRIVATE LEGISLATION
The procedure in connection with Private Bills differs very materially from that which governs Public Bills. A Public Bill relates to a matter of public policy and is usually general in application and character and is initiated by a Minister or Member.
A Private Bill, on the other hand, relates to a matter of special benefit to a particular person or group of persons and is the vehicle by which a member of the public may initiate a Bill by applying to the Legislative Assembly. A Private Bill has as its object a privilege, i.e., an exception from the general law or a provision for something that cannot be obtained under the general law. Where one or more individuals, an association or other organization, a company, municipality or other local authorities seeks any special privilege requiring legislative sanction, the legislation can only be obtained by means of a Private Bill on the application of the parties concerned.
Before any special privilege 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.
Requirements Concerning Publication of Notices
In this regard, the Standing Rules of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick requires the publication of notices of all private legislation.
Standing Rule 111 states that a person intending to apply for the enactment of a Private Bill shall publish notice, in both official languages, stating clearly and distinctly the nature and objects of the proposed Bill, and the name and address of the applicat as follows:
(a) once in the Royal Gazette at least two weeks before filing the application;
(b) 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.
In summary, a notice of the application must be published once in the Royal Gazette at least two weeks prior to filing the application and once a week for three successive weeks in at least one newspaper circulated in the locality most affected by the Bill. The notice must appear in English and French and must specify clearly and distinctly the nature and objects of the proposed legislation. The notice must also include the name and address of the applicant.
The Clerk's Office, which has in the past accepted the Telegraph Journal as a newspaper having province-wide distribution, will no longer accept the publication of notice in this one newspaper as satisfying the requirements of Standing Rule 111(b) as a newspaper having general circulation within the meaning and spirit of the rule. Although it is difficult to define "general circulation", newspapers which reach a significant proportion of households is a starting point for informing the public. No newspaper reaches all the people in a community and it is not necessary that everyone be informed directly. Since no newspaper has a circulation wide enough in all localities so as to cover the province sufficiently, the Legislative Assembly will require for Private Bills of general public interest, publication of notices in the following newspapers:
Publication of notices in these four provincial newspapers will ensure that the majority of the parties interested in and affected by a Bill have reasonable notice of the proposed Bill.
Private Bills affecting a municipality or Bills of local interest will require publication of notice, in at least one newspaper with a circulation wide enough in the area affected to ensure that the community as a whole has reasonable notice of the proposed Bill. (For example, a Private Bill affecting the City of Saint John may be advertised in the Evening Times Globe or in the Telegraph Journal).
Proof by affidavit or statutory declaration that the requirements of Standing Rule 111 have been complied with must be furnished at the time of filing the application. The dates of the publication should be set out in the affidavit or statutory declaration and a copy of the notice attached.
The application for a Private Bill is effected by the filing with the Clerk of the House:
1. A copy of the Bill in both official languages.
These requirements are indispensable conditions to the reception and passage of a Private Bill.
An application for a Private Bill may be commenced at any time in the year. However, it is recommended that the advertising be completed early in the calendar year or in early fall so that the Bill may be considered in the fall sitting. Since 1996, the Legislative Assembly has been summoned into session in late November. It is recommended that the application be filed prior to the start of the fall sitting to avoid delays in the consideration of the Bill. Applications filed later after the commencement of the session may not be considered until the next calendar year when the session normally resumes following a period of adjournment.
The consideration of Private Bills will be facilitated and delays avoided if the aforementioned instructions are observed.