You can’t serve on the select committee on a hybrid bill if you have a personal or constituency interest in the bill, or you’ve spoken in the second reading debate. The membership of the committee is usually determined by the whips.
The select committee on a hybrid bill acts in a quasi-judicial capacity (in other words, it considers matters more like a court). It doesn’t look at the principle of the bill. In other words, if the bill is to build a railway line between A and B along a particular route, the committee can’t recommend that the railway line not be built. Instead, it focuses on mitigating the effects of the bill, and on any compensation or any adjustments that need to be made.
The select committee’s proceedings start with an opening statement by the promoter and a series of presentations on different aspects of the bill. Then, if the promoters challenge the right of a petitioner to be heard by the committee, the select committee itself decides whether to hear the petition (unlike with a private bill, where the Court of Referees makes the decision). After this, the petitioners make their case, calling witnesses if necessary. Witnesses are normally examined on oath. For each petitioner and witness, the bill’s promoters have a right to cross-examine or reply. Then the committee considers the clauses of the bill.
During the select committee stage, often in response to a request by the committee, the Government will sometimes table a package of amendments to the bill in the form of an ‘additional provision’. In the same way as for the bill itself, individuals and organisations who are directly and specially affected by the additional provision can submit a petition against it. The select committee considers these petitions.
If the select committee wants to communicate its view on the subject of the bill, or the promoters no longer want the bill to continue, the select committee can make a special report to the House. At the end of the process, the select committee reports the bill to the House, with or without amendments. It can also recommend a course of action to the promoters (often known as an ‘undertaking’), rather than amending the bill.