Joint Committee on Financial Services and Markets First Report




The Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons was set up in June 1997 with a specific instruction from the House "to seek to make a first report to the House before the summer adjournment with [its] conclusions on ways in which the procedure for examining legislative proposals can be improved."1[391] The Committee, in compliance with that instruction, published its First Report, on the Legislative Process, in July 1997.2[392] In that Report the Committee described some of the perceived defects in the current system and discussed ways in which it could be improved. One of the defects was that there had previously been little, if any, consultation with Members or with the House as a whole before Bills were formally introduced although that there was almost universal agreement that pre-legislative scrutiny was right in principle, subject to the circumstances and nature of the legislation.

The Committee listed four possible options for looking at draft Bills:

—  the existing departmentally related select committees;

—  a new permanent structure of legislative committees;

—  ad hoc select committees of the Commons; or

—  joint committees of both Houses for individual draft Bills.3[393]

Each had advantages and disadvantages but the Committee believed that in general, unless there were unusual circumstances, there would be significant benefits in draft Bills being considered by a Committee.4[394] The Committee's Report was approved by the House of Commons in November 1997.5[395]

Various draft Bills have now been scrutinised by House of Commons Committees. Several departmental select committees—the Social Security Committee6[396], the Trade and Industry Committee7[397]and the Treasury Committee8[398]—have now produced reports on draft legislation and a special standing committee in the Commons is currently examining the draft Asylum and Immigration Bill. In addition an ad hoc select committee has reported on the draft Food Standards Bill.9[399] This is the first occasion on which a draft Bill has been scrutinised by a Joint Committee.

1 391  Votes and Proceedings, 4 June 1997 Back

2 392  First Report from the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons, The Legislative Process, HC190, Session 1997-98 Back

3 393  Op cit, para 21 Back

4 394  Op cit, para 30 Back

5 395  Commons Hansard, 13 November 1997, cols 1061-1128 Back

6 396  Fifth Report from the Social Security Committee, Pensions on Divorce, HC 869, Session 1997-98 Back

7 397  First Report from the Trade and Industry Committee, the draft Limited Liability Partnership Bill, HC 59, Session 1998-99 Back

8 398  Third Report from the Treasury Committee, Financial Services Regulation, HC 73, Session 1998-99 Back

9 399  Food Standards Draft Bill, HC 276, Session 1998-99 Back

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Prepared 29 April 1999