Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-Fourth Report



APPENDIX II

Memorandum by the Lord President's Private Office

ACT OF SEDERUNT (DEVOLUTION ISSUES RULES) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1345)

ACT OF ADJOURNAL (DEVOLUTION ISSUES RULES) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1346)

ACT OF SEDERUNT (PROCEEDINGS FOR THE DETERMINATION OF DEVOLUTION ISSUES RULES) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1347)

ACT OF SEDERUNT (RULES OF THE COURT OF SESSION AMENDMENT NO. 5) (MISCELLANEOUS) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1386)

ACT OF ADJOURNAL (CRIMINAL PROCEDURE RULES AMENDMENT NO. 3) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1387)

  1. This memorandum is submitted to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments in response to a letter of 23 June 1999 from the Commons Clerk of the Committee. He wrote that the Joint Committee had considered the above instruments at its meeting on 22 June 1999 and requested a memorandum on the following point:

      "Of the instruments listed above, S.I.'s 1999/1345-1347 were made on 4 May and came into force on 6 May; S.I.'s 1999/1386 and 1387 were made on 14 May and came into force (as respects most of its provisions in the case of S.I. 1999/1386) on 19 May. But the Clerk to the Committee did not receive them until 2 June. Explain the long delay, and why (particularly in view of the coming into force dates) signature copies were not supplied earlier."

  2. The Act of Sederunt (Devolution Issues Rules) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1345) and Act of Adjournal (Devolution Issues Rules) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1346) were made on 4 May 1999 and came into force on 6 May. The Act of Sederunt (Proceedings for the Determination of Devolution Issues Rules) 1999 was made on 5 May 1999 and also came into force on 6 May.

  3. The Act of Adjournal (Devolution Issues Rules) 1999 amends the Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules) 1996 by adding a new Chapter 40 providing rules to regulate the procedure where a devolution issue (within the meaning of Schedule 6 to the Scotland Act 1998, Schedule 10 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and Schedule 8 to the Government of Wales Act 1998) arises in any criminal proceedings. The Act of Sederunt (Devolution Issues Rules) 1999 amends the Rules of the Court of Session 1994 by adding a new Chapter 25A to regulate procedure when a devolution issue arises in civil proceedings in the Court of Session. The Act of Sederunt (Proceedings for Determination of Devolution Issues Rules) 1999 makes provision for the procedures to be followed in civil proceedings in the Sheriff Court where a devolution issue arises.

  4. The date of coming into force of all three instruments coincides with the date when the relevant provisions of the Judicial Committee (Devolution Issues) Rules Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/665) came into force. That Order provides inter alia for the procedure for making references and appeals in respect of devolution issues from the Court of Session, High Court of Justiciary and Sheriff Courts to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. It was considered expedient that all four sets of rules came into force on the same date. However, there was no realistic prospect of a devolution issue arising in court proceedings in Scotland before 20 May 1999, which was the date when the Lord Advocate and Advocate General for Scotland took their official oaths. It was anticipated that the instruments would be printed and available from HMSO before that date.

  5. When Acts of Sederunt and Act of Adjournal are made in this office they are forwarded to printers via the Scottish Office. The instruments were received in the Scottish Office on or about 5 May and an S.I. number was requested from the Statutory Publications Office on 6 May. On 10 May a disk containing the version of the instruments ready for printing was sent to HMSO. The prints were received in the Scottish Office and this office on 28 May. It is understood that the delay in printing was due to the exceptionally large number of statutory instruments from the Scottish Office which had to be printed during May 1999. 29 instruments, including several substantial devolution-related instruments, were submitted for printing during that month. The additional strain on resources may be illustrated by the fact that during the same month in 1998 six S.I.s were printed. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that during this period the printers had moved premises temporarily during the refurbishment of their normal premises. Prints should also have been sent to the Joint Committee directly from HMSO on Friday 28 May, but it is possible that these were not posted until 1 June because of the public holiday on Monday 31 May. Had it been anticipated in this office that printing would be delayed to such an extent then signature copies would have been supplied to the Joint Committee, and copies would certainly be supplied if similar circumstances were to arise in future. The delay in printing and the failure to supply signature copies are very much regretted. It is submitted by way of explanation but not of excuse that these failures occurred in the exceptional circumstances of a period of constitutional change in Scotland.

  6. The Act of Sederunt (Rules of the Court of Session Amendment No. 5) (Miscellaneous) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1386) and the Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules Amendment No. 3) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1387) were made on 14 May 1999 and came into force on 19 May 1999, apart from paragraph 2(8) of the Act of Sederunt, which comes into force on 1 July 1999 to coincide with the transfer of certain functions to the Scottish Ministers. The main purpose of these instruments is to provide for matters arising due to the appointment of the Advocate General for Scotland on 20 May 1999. In particular, it was necessary to make provision for her appearance before the Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary on 20 May to take the official oath and oath of allegiance. The Advocate General's advisers, including her Legal Secretary, were kept fully informed of the substance of the proposed instruments and had seen drafts of the instruments. The other provisions in the Act of Sederunt and Act of Adjournal were miscellaneous matters which, although necessary, had not been sufficiently urgent to warrant individual instruments. It was considered economical to include them in the first available Act of Sederunt and Act of Adjournal. These instruments were printed on the earliest possible date. However, it is greatly regretted that signature copies were not sent to the Joint Committee.

25 June 1999


 
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 3 August 1999