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 Home Office in connection with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (Fees) Order 2000 (S.I. 2000/480) is printed in Appendix 1.

COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICE (FINANCIAL) REGULATIONS 2000 (S.I. 2000/516)

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

  4. These Regulations make provision for the assessment of the financial resources of a person in order to determine eligibility to receive services funded by the Legal Services Commission and to assess any contribution to be made. Regulation 13 requires the client to inform the assessing authority of any change in his financial circumstances (or those of any other person concerned) since any assessment of his resources, and which might affect the terms on which the client was assessed as eligible to receive funded services. The Committee asked the Lord Chancellor's Department whether this provision is intended to impose a duty on the client to inform the authority of any change in the financial circumstances of any other person concerned (for example, his partner or parent), even if he is unaware of the change. In the memorandum printed in Appendix 2 the Department state that the duty is only intended to arise in cases where the client is, or should reasonably be, aware of the change in the other person's circumstances, and they undertake to clarify this point when amending regulations are made. The Committee reports regulation 13 for defective drafting, acknowledged by the Department.

FINANCING OF MAINTAINED SCHOOLS (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2000 (S.I. 2000/478)

  5. The Committee reports these Regulations to both Houses on the ground that there has been an unjustifiable breach of the 21-day rule.

  6. The Regulations were laid before Parliament on 28 February, and came into force on 29 February. When the instrument was laid, the Department for Education and Employment submitted a memorandum to the Committee explaining that it had been necessary to breach the 21-day rule (i.e. that instruments should not come into force less than 21 days after they are laid before Parliament) because the Regulations proved complex to draft (the memorandum is printed in Appendix 3). The Committee asked for further explanation of this breach, particularly given that the Regulations are modelled on the 1999 Regulations (S.I. 1999/101). In the second memorandum printed in Appendix 3, the Department explain that the 1999 Regulations had to be completely rechecked, and that the amendments that had to be made to them were complex. However, the Committee does not consider that the factors outlined in the memorandum constitute an acceptable justification for this substantial breach of the 21-day rule, and reports accordingly.


1   The Orders of Reference of the Committee are set out in the First Report, Session 1999-2000 (HL Paper 4; HC 47-i). Back


 
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