Joint Committee On Human Rights Twenty-Sixth Report


TWENTY-SIXTH REPORT


The Joint Committee on Human Rights has agreed to the following Report:

SCRUTINY OF BILLS: FINAL PROGRESS REPORT

Introduction

1. Throughout this Session we have reported on all Bills presented to Parliament in respect to their compatibility with Convention Rights as defined by the Human Rights Act 1998 and other human rights instruments. We have produced, in total, nineteen reports on Bills before both Houses in this session.[1] In addition we have produced reports on draft Bills, as explained below. We set out how we intended to proceed with our scrutiny in our Fourteenth Report.[2] In that report, published on 6 March, we summarised the progress that we had made in scrutinising Private Members' Bills and Private Bills. In our Ninth Report, published on 19 December 2001, we reported on the progress of our scrutiny of Government Bills, and we updated this in our Sixteenth, Eighteenth and Twenty-first Reports. This report updates those earlier progress reports and is the last progress report of the 2001-2002 Session. The Annex to this Report gives details of where our findings on each Bill before Parliament in this Session are set out.

Government Bills

Bills Considered and Cleared

2. We have considered the following Government Bill since our last report, and consider that it does not require to be drawn to the special attention of either House on human rights grounds.

Public Trustee (Liability and Fees) [House of Lords Bill 67]

Bills Previously Reported On

Enterprise Bill

3. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry wrote to the Committee on the 30 September, in response to the further comments made in our Twenty-first report.[3] This letter is included as an Appendix.[4] The Secretary of State agreed to consider how the Bill could be amended to meet the Committee's concerns relating to interim enforcement orders, during its passage through the Lords. An amendment was made on report in the House of Lords. The amendment now forms Clause 217 (6) (Interim Enforcement Orders) of the Bill. We are satisfied that this meets our concerns.

Draft Bills

4. As we explained in our Twenty-first Report, the Committee welcomes the opportunity to see draft legislation as early as possible, as it enables more efficient and constructive scrutiny. We published Reports on the Draft Communications Bill on 19 July,[5] on the Draft Extradition Bill on the 26 July,[6] and on the Draft Mental Health Bill on 11 November.[7]

5. The Committee received a response, dated 2 August 2002, from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Home Office, welcoming the Twentieth Report from the Committee on the draft Extradition Bill. The Minister offered to respond to the specific points raised in the report. The Government published its response to the Draft Communication Bill Committee report on 29 October 2002, and the Department for Trade and Industry has offered to respond to the specific points raised in the Nineteenth Report from the Committee in the near future.

Private Members Bills

6. Private Members' Bills do not carry a statement of compatibility under Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The following Private Members' Bills which we have considered since our last progress report appeared to us to raise human rights issues.

Compulsory Voting [House of Commons Bill 58][8]

Corporate Responsibility [House of Commons Bill 145][9]

Data Protection [House of Commons Bill 146][10]

Organ Donation (Presumed Consent and Safeguards) [House of Commons Bill 114][11]

Organ Donation (Presumed Consent and Safeguards)(No.2) [House of Commons Bill 169][12]

7. We therefore wrote to the respective sponsoring Members outlining our concerns. These letters and the responses we received are published as Appendices to this Report.[13] As the Bills do not have any opportunity to progress we consider it is sufficient here to publish the letters as an explanation of our concerns.

8. We consider that the following Private Members' Bills which we have examined since our last progress report do not require to be drawn to the special attention of either House on human rights grounds.


Air Weapons [House of Commons Bill 198]

Domestic Combined Heat and Power (Reduction in VAT) [House of Commons Bill 192]

Endangered Species (Offences) [House of Commons Bill 185]

Energy Saving Materials (Reduced Rate of VAT) [House of Commons Bill 206]

Local Sustainability [House of Commons Bill 188]

Sexual Offences (Amendment) [House of Lords Bill 105]


1   First Report, Session 2001-02 Homelessness Bill, HL Paper 30/HC 314; Second Report, Session 2001-02, Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill, HL Paper 37HC 372; Third Report, Session 2001-02, Proceeds of Crime Bill, HL Paper 43/HC 405; Fourth Report, Session 2001-02, Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Bill, HL Paper 44/HC 406; Fifth Report, Session 2001-02, Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill: Further Report, HL Paper 51/HC 420; Eighth Report, Session 2001-02, Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill, HL Paper 59/HC 474; Ninth Report, Session 2001-02 Scrutiny of Bills: Progress Report, HL Paper 60/HC 475; Tenth Report, Session 2001-02, Animal Health Bill, HL Paper 67/HC 542; Eleventh Report, Session 2001-02, Proceeds of Crime Bill, HL Paper 75/HC 596; Twelfth Report, Session 2001-02, Employment Bill, HL Paper 85/HC 645; Thirteenth Report, Session 2001-02, Police Reform Bill, HL Paper 85/HC 645; Fourteenth Report, Session 2001-02, Scrutiny of Bills: Private Members' Bills and Private Bills, HL Paper 93/HC 674; Fifteenth Report, Session 2001-02, Police Reform Bill: Further Report, HL Paper 98/HC 706; Sixteenth Report, Session 2001-02, Scrutiny of Bills: Further Progress Report, HL Paper 113/HC 805; Seventeenth Report, Session 2001-02, Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, HL Paper 132/HC 961; Eighteenth Report, Session 2001-02, Scrutiny of Bills: Further Progress Report, HL Paper 133/HC 962; Twenty-first Report, Session 2001-02, Scrutiny of Bills: Further Progress Report, HL Paper 159/HC 1141; Twenty-third Report, Session 2001-02, Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill: Further Report, HL Paper 176/HC 1255; Twenty-fourth Report, Session 2001-02, Adoption and Children Bill: As Amended by the House of Lords on Report, HL Paper 177/HC 979 Back

2   Fourteenth Report, Session 2001-02, Scrutiny of Bills: Private Members' Bills and Private Bills HL Paper 93/HC 674 Back

3   Twenty-first report, Session 2001-02, Scrutiny of Bills: Further Progress Report, HL Paper 159/HC 1141 Back

4   See p. Ev 1 Back

5   Nineteenth Report, Session 2001-02, Draft Communication Bill, HL Paper 149/HC 1102 Back

6   Twentieth Report, Session 2001-02, Draft Extradition Bill, HL Paper 158/HC 1140 Back

7   Twenty-fifth Report, Session 2001-02, Draft Mental Health Bill, HL Paper 181/HC 1294 Back

8   Introduced by Gareth R Thomas MP Back

9   Introduced by Linda Perham MP Back

10   Introduced by Mark Francois MP Back

11   Introduced by Tom Watson MP Back

12   Introduced by Cheryl Gillan MP Back

13   See pp. Ev 1 to Ev 8 Back


 
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Prepared 16 December 2002