Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation First Report


FIRST REPORT

9 June 1997


  By the Select Committee appointed to report whether the provisions of any bill inappropriately delegate legislative power, or whether they subject the exercise of legislative power to an inappropriate degree of parliamentary scrutiny; to report on documents laid before Parliament under section 3(3) of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 and on draft orders laid under section 1(4) of that Act; and to perform, in respect of such documents and orders, the functions performed in respect of other instruments by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.


SPECIAL IMMIGRATION APPEALS COMMISSION BILL [HL]

  1.     This bill establishes a new body - the Special Immigration Appeals Commission - to hear appeals in immigration and asylum cases. Clause 4 empowers the Lord Chancellor to make rules "for regulating the exercise of the rights of appeal conferred by" Clause 2 and for prescribing the practice and procedure to be followed by the Commission. The power is extensive, covering the mode and burden of proof and admissibility of evidence (subsection (1)(b)); limitation on the right to legal representation (subsection (2)); restriction of appellant's right to full particulars of reasons (subsection (3)(a)); and holding proceedings in absence of appellant and his legal representative (subsection (3)(b)). Rules are subject to affirmative procedure (Clause 4(9)). The Committee considers this appropriate for rules of such potential width and importance.

  2.     There is a simple commencement power in Clause 5(2). Clause 5(3) provides for an Order in council to extend any of the provisions of the bill (with adaptations and modifications) to the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands. This, as is customary, is not subject to Parliamentary procedure.

  3.     The House may wish to consider carefully the potential width and importance of rules under Clause 4. Whilst the provision of the affirmative procedure gives some comfort, nevertheless the rules made under this section could limit what are normally regarded as fundamental rights of fair procedure. The Committee therefore views it as admirable and indeed essential that the Minister undertook during the Second Reading debate[1] to make a draft of the rules available to the House to assist the detailed consideration of the bill in Committee.

  4.     There is nothing else in the bill which the Committee wishes to draw to the attention of the House.


WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY BILL [HL]

  5.     This bill amends the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 to change the basis for charging for licences to install or use radio equipment. At present those fees are set by regulations so as to recover the costs of licensing. The bill changes this to allow fees (other than for television licences) to take account of other factors or to be determined by auction.

  6.     Clause 1 sets out the basic power to make regulations about fees. Clause 2 sets out the matters to be taken into account by the Secretary of State in prescribing fees. Clause 3 is a separate power to make regulations establishing a procedure for allocating particular licences by auction. Clause 6 makes regulations under Clause 1 or 3 subject to negative procedure. Clause 9(3) provides for an Order in Council to extend all or any of the provisions of the bill (with adaptations and modifications) to the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands. This, as is customary, is not subject to Parliamentary procedure.

  7.     There is nothing in the bill to which we draw the House's attention.


REFERENDUMS (SCOTLAND AND WALES) BILL

  8.     Clause 1 of the bill provides for a referendum in Scotland and Clause 2 for one in Wales. Subsection (1) of each of these Clauses provides for the date of the referendum to be fixed by Order in Council.

  9.     Subsection (1) of Clause 3 allows an Order in Council under Clause 1(1) or 2(1) to include "provision relating to the conduct of the referendum" including provision applying any enactment (including subordinate legislation). Subsection (2) makes the provisions in Clauses 1(3) and 2(3) (about who can vote) subject to any provision in an Order in Council about disregarding alterations made to registers after a specified date. Subsection (3) of Clause 3 makes the process of legislating by Order in Council subject to the affirmative procedure.

  10.     The Committee considers that the Order in Council power is an appropriate way of providing the detailed procedure for holding a referendum. The affirmative procedure gives appropriate Parliamentary control. These provisions of the bill are similar to those in the Referendum Act 1975.

  11.     There is nothing in the bill to which we draw the House's attention.


NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (PRIVATE FINANCE) BILL [HL]

PHARMACISTS BILL [HL]

BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS BILL [HL]

  12.     There are no delegated legislative powers in these bills to which it is necessary to draw the House's attention.


COORDINATED UNIVERSAL TIME BILL [HL]

GENEVA CONVENTIONS (AMENDMENT) BILL [HL]

  13.     There are no delegated legislative powers in these bills.


1   HL Deb., 5 June 1997, cols. 735 and 754.  Back


 
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Prepared 10 June 1997