Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Second Report


APPENDIX 2

Memorandum from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE STRUCTURES (GRANTS) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2001 (S.I. 2001/1117)

1. The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments has requested the Ministry to submit a memorandum on the following point:

    "Given that an offence under regulation 17(1) is triable summarily only, should the reference to the statutory maximum be a reference to level 5 on the standard scale?"

2. The Ministry accepts that the reference in regulation 17(1) of the above Regulations to the statutory maximum should have been a reference to level 5 of the standard scale and is grateful to the Joint Committee for drawing this point to its attention. The Ministry agrees that regulation 17(1) should be amended to substitute a reference to level 5 on the standard scale and undertakes to make the necessary amendment as soon as a suitable opportunity presents itself.

3. The Ministry notes that the distinction between the terms "statutory maximum" and "level 5 on the standard scale" has its origins in the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980. The standard scale is laid down in section 37 of that Act, where it applies to offences which are triable only summarily. The definition of the "standard scale" in Schedule 5 to the Interpretation Act 1978 is similarly restricted to such offences. By contrast the definition of the "statutory maximum" in the same Schedule makes reference to the use of that term in section 32 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, which provides for penalties on summary conviction for offences covered by that Act which are triable either way.

4. However, the definition of the "statutory maximum" in Schedule 5 to the Interpretation Act 1978 refers only to "a fine or penalty on summary conviction" and does not exclude use of that term in the case of offences triable only summarily. As this figure is the same as the present amount of fine for level 5 on the standard scale, it appears likely that regulation 17(1) will have the effect intended until such time as the Ministry is able to amend it.

8 May 2001


 
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