Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fifteenth Report



FIFTEENTH REPORT

FROM THE JOINT COMMITTEE OF BOTH HOUSES APPOINTED TO SCRUTINISE STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS, ETC.[1]

ORDERED TO REPORT:

  1. The Committee has considered the instruments set out in the Annex to this Report and has determined that the special attention of both Houses does not require to be drawn to any of them.

  2. A memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in connection with the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Midland Metro T69 Vehicles) Exemption (Amendment) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/586) is printed in Appendix I to this Report.

  3. A memorandum by HM Treasury in connection with the Public Offers of Securities (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/734) is printed in Appendix II to this Report.

PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE (FEES) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/691)

  4. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they are of dubious vires.

  5. These Regulations prescribe a range of fees to be charged for authentication of copies of records and for other services provided by the Public Record Office. In relation to the fees to be charged for the supply of additional finishes of direct copies of original documents, paragraph 6.1(ix) of the Schedule states "Prices on request". The Committee asked the Lord Chancellor's Department to specify the fees and, given that section 2(5) of the Public Records Act 1958 requires the fees to be prescribed in a statutory instrument, to explain why they were not specified in the instrument itself. In the memorandum printed in Appendix III the Department reply that it is not possible to specify the fees at present because the Public Record Office does not yet know what sort of finishes customers will request. They concede, however, that the vires for a fee couched in such terms are open to doubt, and undertake to revoke the fee as soon as possible. The Committee reports paragraph 6.1(ix) of the Schedule for being of dubious vires, acknowledged by the Department.

INSURANCE (FEES) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/589)

  6. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they are defectively drafted.

  7. These Regulations set out certain fees to be paid to the Treasury by insurance companies and the Council of Lloyd's when they deposit various documents as required by the Insurance Companies Act 1982. Regulation 6(1) provides for the abatement of fees where the sum of the fees payable under regulations 4 and 5 by all the insurance companies within a group exceeds a specified figure. The Committee asked the Treasury to explain the relevance of the reference to regulation 5, given that it simply provides that the Regulations do not apply in the case of an EC company. The Department answer in the memorandum printed in Appendix IV that the reference to regulation 5 is intended to inform insurance groups that if one of their subsidiaries is an EC company, then for the purpose of determining the potential fee income, gross premium income of that company should be disregarded. The specific reference in regulation 6 to regulation 5 is not necessary: regulation 5, in providing that the Regulations do not apply in the case of an EC company itself secures the result that such a company's premium income is not to be included in that of the group of which it is a member. In any case the reference to "fees payable" under regulation 5 is erroneous: it does not prescribe any fees. The Committee reports regulation 6(1) for defective drafting.

MOTOR VEHICLES (DRIVING LICENCES) (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/617)

  8. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they require the elucidation provided by the Department.

  9. Regulation 4 inserts into the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1996 a new regulation 13A(2)(d)(i). This provides that a person has relevant driving experience if, in the case of a person supervising a provisional licence holder who is driving a vehicle in the specified categories, he held the relevant licence on 6 April 1998 and has held it continuously since that date. The Committee asked the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to explain the purpose and effect of this requirement, and in particular the significance of the date in the underlined words. In the memorandum printed in Appendix V the Department explain that under the 1996 Regulations (pre-amendment) a learner driver in the categories referred to in new regulation 13A(2)(d)(i) (C, D, C+E or D+E) had to be accompanied by a qualified driver, who was at least 21 and held a full licence authorising him to drive vehicles of the same class as the learner driver. The original provisions made no requirement as to the length of time for which the qualified driver had to hold the licence. This contrasts with the position in the 1996 Regulations for vehicles in category B (motor cars and small goods vehicles) where the qualified driver had to have held the relevant full licence for 3 years or more overall. The Department say that they decided to bring the requirements into line, but not to introduce the full 3-year requirement immediately. They therefore decided to introduce an immediate requirement to have held a full licence for one year, rising to the full 3-requirement over a 2 year period. Regulation 13A(2)(d)(i) is therefore an interim provision which comes into force on 6 April 1999. By 5 April 2001, if it remains unamended, the 3-year requirement will apply. The provision can then be revoked so that paragraph (2)(d)(ii) (which includes a general 3-year requirement) applies to all qualified drivers whatever the category of vehicle. The Committee reports new regulation 13(A)(d)(i) for the elucidation required and provided by the Department.

SPECIFIED RISK MATERIAL (INSPECTION CHARGES) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/539)

  10. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they are defectively drafted.

  11. These Regulations enable the Minister to levy a charge to cover the cost of inspections and controls under the Specified Risk Material Regulations 1997. Regulation 4(1) requires any person to supply such information as the Minister may reasonably require for the purpose of calculating the SRM charge or of notifying an occupier or owner of it. Regulation 3 provides that the Minister must notify the occupier of the slaughterhouse of any SRM charge and that, when he has done so, both the occupier and the owner will be jointly and severally liable for paying it. The Committee asked the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what provision is made for notifying the owner of the charge. The Department accept in the memorandum in Appendix VI that there is no provision requiring the owner to be notified of the charge. They also accept that since the owner will be liable for the charge he should be notified of it, and undertake to look again at this aspect of the Regulations. The Committee considers that a provision requiring notification of the charge to the owner should indeed be made, given that with the occupier the owner is jointly and severally liable for it, and that provision is already made in regulation 4(1) for obtaining information which will enable the Minister to notify the owner. The Committee reports the regulations for defective drafting as there is no provision to notify the owner of an SRM charge for which he is liable.


1   The Orders of Reference of the Committee are set out in the First Report, Session 1998-99 (HL Paper 4; HC 50-i). Back

 
previous page contents next page

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

© Parliamentary copyright 1999
Prepared 30 April 1999