Nature of Private Bills

A private bill may benefit the private interest of a particular individual or group of individuals in one of two ways:16

  • The bill may confer special powers or benefits upon one or more persons or body of persons.
  • The bill may exclude one or more persons or body of persons from the general application of the law.

Thus, a bill which allows a group of individuals to form a type of corporation not provided for in the general law would be an example of a bill which confers special powers or benefits upon the beneficiary.17 A bill which exempts an existing corporation from a general provision of a statute applicable to all such corporations would be an example of a private bill which derogates from the general law.18 Legislation which authorizes the marriage of two blood relations would be another example of a bill exempting one or more persons from the general law.19

A bill may affect the private interest of an individual or a defined class of individuals and yet not be considered a private bill.20 In order that a bill be designated as private, it cannot include any feature of public policy because this would transcend any private nature it may have.21 A bill should be introduced as a public bill when it affects public policy, when it proposes to amend or repeal a public act, or when it affects a large area and a multiplicity of interests.22