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    Private bill


    • A private bill is a proposal for a law that would apply to a particular individual or group of individuals, or corporate entity. This is unlike public bills which apply to everyone within their jurisdiction. Private law can afford relief from another law, grant a unique benefit or powers not available under the general law, or relieve someone from legal responsibility for some allegedly wrongful act. There are many examples of such private law in democratic countries, although its use has changed over time. A private bill is not to be confused with a private member's bill, which is a bill introduced by a "private member" of the legislature rather than by the ministry.

      In Canada, private bills today are used to deal with older organizations, such as Bill S-1001 in 2006 restructuring Scouts Canada. Private bills can also be used to give official government tribute to some person or group. Unlike with most other legislation, it is common for private bills to originate in the Senate rather than the House. For the first hundred years after Confederation, private bills were more common. For example, prior to the passage of the Divorce Act in 1968, there was no uniform federal divorce law. In some provinces, the only way to obtain a divorce was by a legislative divorce, by means of a private bill passed by the federal Parliament. This required an application to the Canadian Senate which reviewed and investigated petitions for divorce. The final report of the committee handling the case would then be voted upon by the Senate and subsequently enacted as an Act of Parliament.

      There are two types of private Act in the United Kingdom. The first are acts for the benefit of individuals (known as private or personal acts) which have historically often dealt with divorces or granting British nationality to foreigners, but in modern terms are generally limited to authorising marriages which would otherwise not be legal.

      The second type are Acts for the benefit of organisations, or authorising major projects such as railways or canals, or granting extra powers to local authorities (known as local acts).



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