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Session 2001- 02
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Human Reproductive Cloning Bill [HL]


 

These notes refer to the Human Reproductive Cloning Bill [HL]
as brought from the House of Lords on 26th November 2001 [Bill 57]

HUMAN REPRODUCTIVE CLONING BILL [HL]


EXPLANATORY NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1.     These explanatory notes relate to the Human Reproductive Cloning Bill [HL] as brought from the House of Lords on 26th November 2001. They have been prepared by the Department of Health in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2.     These notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill, so where a section or part of a section does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.

BACKGROUND

3.     This Bill fulfils the Government's commitment to bring in legislation to put the ban on human reproductive cloning onto a statutory footing. It is brought forward following the judgement of the High Court on 15th November 2001. This held that embryos created by cell nuclear replacement were not governed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. As a consequence the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority could not implement a ban on reproductive cloning by refusing to licence any application for this purpose.

THE BILL

4.     4.     The purpose of the Bill is to prevent human reproductive cloning taking place in the United Kingdom by rendering it a criminal offence to place in the womb of a woman a human embryo that has been created other than by fertilisation.

COMMENTARY ON CLAUSES

Clause 1: Offence

5.     This clause consists of three subsections.

6.     Subsection (1) makes it an offence to place in a woman a human embryo which has been created by a method other than by fertilisation.

7.     Subsection (2) provides that a person who is guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on conviction on indictment to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine or both.

8.     Subsection (3) provides that proceedings in respect of the offence may not be instituted in England and Wales without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions and may not be instituted in Northern Ireland without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.

Clause 2: Short title and Extent

9.     Subsection (1) of this clause gives the short title of the Act.

10.     Subsection (2) provides that the Act extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

11.     Subsection (3) provides an order making power to extend the provisions of the Act to the Channel Islands.

FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL

12.     The provisions of the Bill are expected to have no significant impact upon public finances.

EFFECTS OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SERVICE MANPOWER

13.     The provisions of the Bill are expected to have no significant staffing implications.

REGULATORY APPRAISAL

14.     The proposals have not been the subject of a regulatory impact assessment since they will have no impact upon businesses or charities.

HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998

15.     Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The statement has to be made before second reading. On 26th November 2001, Secretary Alan Milburn made the following statement:

In my view the provisions of the Human Reproductive Cloning Bill [HL] are compatible with the Convention rights.

COMMENCEMENT

16.     The Act will come into force on Royal Assent.

 
 
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© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared: 27 November 2001