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Referencing - UK & EU Law: Bill

How do I reference a Bill?

This guidance applies whether you found the Bill in print or online.

short title | HC Bill | (session) | [number]


short title | HL Bill | (session) | number

Footnote and bibliography:
e.g. Consolidated Fund HC Bill (2008-09) [5]
e.g Academies HL Bill (2010-11) 1

To pinpoint, follow the citation with a comma, the relevant term or abbreviation and a number or letter. To pinpoint several clauses (for example), insert a dash between the clause numbers:
e.g. Consolidated Fund HC Bill (2008-09) [5], cl 3
e.g. Academies HL Bill (2010-11) 1, cls 8-9

Term Abbreviation
part/parts pt/pts
clause/clauses cl/cls
subsection/subsections sub-s/sub-ss
paragraph/paragraphs para/paras
subparagraph/subparagraphs subpara/subparas
schedule/schedules sch/schs


A Bill may have a short title (e.g. 'Consolidated Fund Bill') and a long title (e.g. 'A Bill to authorise the use of resources for the service of the years ending with 31 March 2009 and 31 March 2010 and to apply certain sums out of the Consolidated Fund to the service of the years ending with 31 March 2009 and 31 March 2010'). Use the short title in your reference.

  • Do not include 'The' at the beginning of the title
  • Use capitals for the major words.

House of Parliament

Bills are introduced in either the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Indicate the House where the Bill originated using either HC Bill or HL Bill.


Bills are introduced during a Parliamentary session (e.g. 2008-09).The year of printing is given on a Bill, but you may need to check the Parliament website or Lawtel to find the Parliamentary session.


A Bill is assigned a 'running number':

  • House of Commons running number has [square brackets]
  • House of Lords running number has no brackets.

If a Bill is reprinted at any stage it is given a new running number.


Bills are divided into: parts; clauses; subsections; paragraphs and subparagraphs.

The main text of the Bill may be supplemented by schedules, which are divided into parts, paragraphs and subparagraphs.

These divisions are referenced using either a term (e.g. clause 3) or an abbreviation (e.g. cl 3) as follows:

  • In a footnote, use the abbreviation
  • In the text of your work, use either the term or the abbreviation but...
  • Use the term at the beginning of a sentence
  • When referring to subsections or paragraphs, always use the abbreviation.

If citing a paragraph or subsection as part of a clause, use only the abbreviation for the clause.  For example, paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of clause 8 of the Academies HL Bill (2010-11) 1 is referenced as follows: Academies HL Bill (2010-11) 1, cl 8(2)(d).