Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Guide to the Scottish Parliament



How does Scotland's Parliament make laws for the country? Firstly, of course, it can only legislate on devolved issues.

The Scotland Act
The Scotland Act paved the way for new laws to be made in Scotland

And secondly, as there is no second chamber like the House of Lords, the process of passing legislation is different in Scotland.

To compensate, the Scottish Parliament provides a stronger role for its committees which undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of every scrap of proposed legislation.

Committees can even introduce their own bills, something which Westminster's committees cannot do.

The lack of a second chamber and the safeguard it provides is also compensated for by the fact that any decision made by the Scottish Parliament can be challenged in court - an option not available against the sovereign Westminster.

One of the most high-profile challenges to the Scottish Parliament to date came in 2002. Pro-hunting campaigners tried to have the Act outlawing hunting with dogs in Scotland struck down , claiming that it breached the Human Rights Act. The challenge was unsuccessful.

Public and private

There are two different types of bill that can be introduced: a private bill and a public bill.

A public bill is introduced by MSPs in the Parliament, either by the Scottish Government as an executive bill, a committee bill which arises from one of Holyrood's committees or from an individual MSP which is known as a member's bill.

Examples of bills
Executive bill: Climate Change (Scotland) Bill
Committee bill: Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Bill
Member's bill: Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill
Private bill: Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill

A private bill can be introduced by an individual or group of people, as long as it fits the criteria of the Parliament. A promoter, usually a company or organisation, will introduce it seeking certain powers that will benefit their enterprise.

A specific privat