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Making Laws

From Bill to Act.

The Northern Ireland Assembly is a Legislature. This means it makes laws, or legislation. Those elected to the Assembly are called MLAs.

Laws are rules that help society run smoothly and make sure that everyone is treated equally. There are laws about everything from plastic bags to university fees. The Assembly can make laws about most of the issues that affect our everyday lives in Northern Ireland.

Proposals for new laws are called Bills. Ideas for Bills come from:

  • Ministers in charge of different areas of government, such as Agriculture, Environment or Education;
  • individual MLAs; or
  • Assembly Committees:groups of MLAs that specialise in different areas.

Making a law can be a long process. Bills must pass through several Stages if they are to become laws. Small groups of MLAs in Committees examine the Bills in detail. Then they are debated several times in the Assembly Chamber. Once a Bill has passed through all the necessary stages, it is called an Act.

Do you have an idea for a new law to make Northern Ireland a better place? Can you get it passed by the Assembly?