Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-Eighth Report


APPENDIX

Memorandum by the Home Office

THE FIRE PRECAUTIONS (WORKPLACE) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/1877)

  1. By a letter from its Clerk dated 20 July 1999 the Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:

As regards regulation 16's addition to regulation 18 of the principal Regulations of a paragraph ((5A)) in effect making those Regulations apply to the Houses of Parliament, explain -

  (a)  under which of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 and the European Communities Act 1972 regulation 16 is made; and

  (b)  what authorises the addition, whether under the 1971 Act or the 1972 Act.

  2. Regulation 16 is made under the European Communities Act 1972.

  3. By virtue of regulation 3(5)(a) of the principal Regulations, the obligations imposed by those Regulations did not apply to premises for which a fire certificate is in force under the Fire Precautions Act 1971. Regulation 5 of the current Regulations, which is made under the European Communities Act 1972, removes this exemption because the fire certification legislation does not give full effect to the obligations on employers which are imposed by Council Directives 89/391/EEC and 89/654/EEC and are reflected in Part II of the principal Regulations.

  4. Section 40 of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 provides that certain of the provisions of that Act relating to fire certificates apply to the Crown. These include those requiring a fire certificate to be in force in respect of certain premises but do not include those relating to enforcement. By virtue of sections 1(6) and 2(6) of the Parliamentary Corporate Bodies Act 1992 the Corporate Officer of each House of Parliament is not to be regarded as enjoying any status, privilege or immunity of the Crown, but article 5 of the Parliamentary Corporate Bodies (Crown Immunities etc.) Order 1992 (S.I. 1992/1732) amended section 40 of the 1971 Act to place the Corporate Officers in a corresponding position to that of the Crown. The effect of this was that, although premises owned or occupied by the Corporate Officers might require a fire certificate, the relevant enforcement provisions in the 1971 Act could not be exercised as respects those Officers.

  5. In the absence of the amendment to regulation 18 of the principal Regulations, the effect of the amendment referred to in paragraph 3 above would have been to apply the whole of those Regulations to the Corporate Officers, as they would not have benefited from the limited immunity granted to the Crown under regulation 18. In order to preserve the position which currently exists under the 1971 Act, regulation 18 was therefore amended to apply the principal Regulations to the Corporate Officers in the same way as they are applied to the Crown.

  6. In summary, therefore, we would respectfully submit that the effect of the amendment is not, as the Committee suggests, to apply the principal Regulations to the Houses of Parliament, but rather to limit their application to the Corporate Officers of the Houses of Parliament in the same way as their application is limited in respect of the Crown. This is considered to be within the powers conferred by section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.

22 July 1999


 
previous page contents

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1999
Prepared 29 November 1999