Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fifteenth Report


Memorandum by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport


  By a letter from its Clerk dated 19 November 1997, the Joint Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:

    This Instrument came into force before it was laid. Has the Department sent to the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons a notification as required by the proviso to section 4(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946? If so, when, and if not, explain why no notification was sent. Your attention is drawn to paragraph 4.25 and 4.26 of the Statutory Instrument Practice.

  The Department apologises to the Committee for the failure to advise the Speaker and the Lord Chancellor of the reason why this instrument came into force before being laid. The Protection of Wrecks (Designation No. 4) Order 1997 came into force before being laid to ensure the immediate protection of a threatened wreck and the Department have now notified the Speaker and the Lord Chancellor accordingly. It was originally intended that the instrument should be made and laid on 23 October and that it should come into force on 24 October. Unfortunately by the time the Order was made on 23 October it was too late to be laid on that day. In order to achieve the intended immediate protection of the wreck from 24 October it was therefore necessary for the instrument to be laid in the course of the day on which it had come into force.

  The failure to notify the Speaker and the Lord Chancellor of these facts was due to an administrative oversight. This oversight is particularly unfortunate in the light of the Committee's concern expressed in paragraph 9(d) of their First Special Report - Report on Proceedings 1986-96. The importance of the proviso to section 4(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 has been emphasised to the Department and procedures have now been put in place to guard against a recurrence of this error.

24th November 1997

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