Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Second Report



SECOND 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 from the Northern Ireland Office in connection with the Explosives (Fireworks) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 (S.R. 1999/392) is printed in Appendix 1.

  3. A Memorandum from the Department of Health in connection with the Medicines (Aristolochia) (Temporary Prohibition) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/2889) is printed in Appendix 2.

MOTOR VEHICLES (DRIVING LICENCES) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/2864).

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

  5. These Regulations consolidate the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1996 and other amending regulations and make further amendments. Regulation 65(2) precludes a person from being authorised to be an instructor (amongst other requirements) unless he was so authorised on the 13th January 1998 by an approved training body "in accordance with these regulations". The Committee asked the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions whether this reference to regulations was intended to be a reference to regulations in force on that date. The Department, in the Memorandum printed in Appendix 3, admitted that this is the case. The error was regretted and will be corrected.

  6. The Committee accordingly report these Regulations for defective drafting, as admitted by the Department.

NUCLEAR REACTORS (ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR DECOMMISSIONING) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/2892)

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

  8. These Regulations implement European Community legislation on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, to the extent that the Directive relates to the dismantling or decommissioning of nuclear power stations and other nuclear reactors.

  9. Regulation 4 forbids (with a criminal sanction) a nuclear site licencee from beginning decommissioning unless (a) he has applied to the Health and Safety Executive for a consent and (b) the Executive has granted a consent "in accordance with Regulation 8(3)".

  10. The Committee asked the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions whether a licencee, holding consent of the Executive, would be liable for an offence where the Executive has not taken into account the matters specified in Regulations 8(3)(b) and (c). The Department admitted that a procedural error under Regulation 8(3) by the Executive might place the licencee inadvertently in breach of Regulation 4. They also admitted that this was not the intention and have undertaken to amend.

  11. Regulation 12(6) refers to consultation in accordance with paragraph (3). The Department, in the same Memorandum, have admitted that paragraph (5) was the intended provision. They will amend.

  12. The Committee accordingly reports these Regulations to both Houses on the ground that they are defectively drafted, acknowledged by the Department.

HOUSING BENEFIT (GENERAL) AMENDMENT (NO. 3) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/2734).

  13. These Regulations amend the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987. Regulation 5 inserts new paragraphs (5A)-(5E) after paragraph (5) of Regulation 11 in the 1987 Regulations. Paragraph (5A) refers to "paragraph (5B) to (5F)". The Committee asked the Department of Social Security whether this should have in fact been a reference to paragraphs (5B) to (5E). The Department, in the memorandum printed in Appendix 5, confirm that this was the intended reference and undertake to amend the Regulations at the earliest opportunity.

  14. The Committee accordingly reports these Regulations to both Houses on the ground that they are defectively drafted, acknowledged by the Department.

MERCHANT SHIPPING (LIFE-SAVING APPLIANCES FOR SHIPS OTHER THAN SHIPS OF CLASSES III TO VI(A)) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/2721).

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

  16. The Committee drew the attention of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to twenty-three cases of apparently defective drafting in the Regulations. The Department submitted the memorandum printed in Appendix 6, in which they deal with each of these in turn. It is the Committee's view that twenty of these, that is, all except the ones numbered 13, 18 and 20, constitute defective drafting.

  17. The Committee accordingly reports these Regulations on the ground that they are defectively drafted. The Committee, whilst acknowledging that these Regulations are long and extremely complex and constitute a welcome consolidation, wishes to record its view that, in point of the number of errors, it is one of the worst examples they have ever seen. The Committee are pleased to note that an amending instrument is already well under preparation. We would encourage the Department to issue it as soon as possible.


1   The Orders of Reference of the Committee are set out in the First Report, Session 1999-00 (HL Paper 4; HC 47-i). Back


 
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