Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fourteenth Report


APPENDIX XII

Memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

AIRPORTS (GROUNDHANDLING) REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/2389)

  1. By a letter from its Clerk dated 12 November 1997 the Committee requested a memorandum on the following points:

    (1)   In regulation 2(1), in the definition of "supplier of groundhandling services", ought not the reference to regulation 27(1)(b) to be one to regulation 26(1)(b)?

  2. The Department acknowledges that the reference should be to regulation 26(1)(b). Regulation 26(1)(b) does not have any practical effect until 1 January 1999 (see regulation 1(4)). The Department undertakes to make a timely amendment to regulation 2(1) to rectify this error.

    (2)   Regulation 2(3) states that these Regulations are to have effect for the purpose of making such provision as is necessary to comply with the Directive and shall be construed accordingly. Explain the purpose of each proposition, indicating, as to the second, what this adds to paragraph (2) of this regulation (expressions used in the Directive and these Regulations).

  3. The first proposition is to inform the reader of the purpose of making the Regulations. It is declaratory but looks forward to the second proposition, which is intended to ensure that, in the event of any dispute as to the meaning of the Regulations, such dispute should be resolved by reference to the Directive.

  4. The Department included this wording to state explicitly the principle of consistent interpretation with the Directive. The Department noted that a similar provision was used in section 1(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1987. In a recent case the European Court of Justice was asked to consider whether a provision had been correctly implemented in that Act and the Court noted both that there was no evidence that courts in the UK would interpret the provision in question in a way which was not consistent with the Directive and also that the wording of section 1(1) expressly obliged them to do so.[3]

  5. Regulation 2(2) applies to expressions in the Regulations which also appear in the Directive. Regulation 2(3) is intended to apply to the Regulations as a whole including expressions in the Regulations which do not appear in the Directive.

  6. On reflection the Department acknowledges that regulation 2(3) is unnecessary.

    (3)   Regulation 12 (6) requires the invitation to tender for supplying groundhandling services to specify (b) "the deadline for the submission of tenders (which shall be no earlier than one month from the date on which the invitation to tender is published beginning on that date.". Are not the bold words unnecessary?

  7. The Department does not consider the bold words to be unnecessary as they make it clear that "from" includes the date of publication. The Department acknowledges, however, that regulation 12(6)(b) could have been drafted more clearly and succinctly.

    (4)   Regulation 24(2) makes an offence under regulation 22(3) an offence triable only summarily. Ought not the maximum amount of the fine to be in terms, not of the statutory maximum, but of level 5 on the standard scale (having regard to the operation of section 46 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982 in relation to offences created under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972)?

  8. The Department acknowledges that the maximum amount of the fine should be in terms, not of the statutory maximum, but of level 5 on the standard scale. Regulation 24(2) has no practical effect until 1 January 1999, when regulation 17 comes into force in relation to certain airports (see regulation 1(4)). The Department undertakes to make a timely amendment to regulation 24(2) to rectify this error.

    (5)   In Schedule 1, paragraph 1(a) is made "subject to paragraph 3 below". Explain this reference.

  9. The Department acknowledges that the reference to paragraph 3 is incorrect. The intention was to refer to paragraph 2 of that Schedule. On reflection, however, the Department considers that the qualification to which the Committee refers should be omitted because paragraph 2 does not "reduce" the second requirement in paragraph 1. The Department undertakes to make the necessary amendment at the next suitable opportunity.

  10. The Department very much regrets the errors referred to above.

17th November 1997


3   Commission v United Kingdom. Case No. C300/95. Decided 29 May 1997. Not yet reported in full. Back


 
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