Select Committee on European Communities Second Report


Cabinet Office Checklist "Implementing European Law"

Double Banking

Are the requirements of the directive covered to any extent by existing domestic law, perhaps law for which another department is responsible?

Is the domestic provision sufficient, and no more than the directive requires?

If not, can the existing law be dispensed with. Consider using the European Communities Act or a Deregulation Order?

Gold Plating


What use is being made of available transitional periods?

Are legal obligations being imposed with effect from the latest possible date?

If not, do UK benefits of early implementation clearly outweigh costs?


Do the substantive requirements follow exactly the wording of the directive?

Is there elaboration of any term used which may give a wider meaning in UK law than that in the directive (eg because it attracts an existing definition)?

If there are any departures from the terms of the directive, what are the reasons and compliance cost implications of each instance?


Are there precise definitions on coverage. Consider territorial extent (eg exports and imports) and persons on whom obligations are placed. Are these definitions drawn as narrowly as possible?

If not, what are the reasons and compliance cost implications?


Are any potential exemptions or derogations being used to their maximum extent?

If not, what are the reasons and compliance cost implications?


Does the directive allow self assessment for compliance?

If not, is the enforcement regime adopted (eg licensing, inspection, administrative orders) the least burdensome required etc.

Has maximum use been made of Section 5 principles[111]?

If an existing enforcement regime is to be followed, is this proportionate both to the requirement set out in the directive and to any classes of person or activity brought in?

Sanctions and proof

Can any of the provisions of the directive operate without the support of express sanctions at all (eg because as transposed it will give rights which those concerned can enforce)?

If not, what sanctions are proposed eg civil liability, penalties (criminal or civil), court compliance orders or purely administrative action?

Are these required by the directive? If not, why was this particular sanction chosen?

What defences are provided in the regulations or statutory guidance?

Where does the burden of proof lie in the event of a breach?

For judgmental terms such as "adequate" or "sufficient", consider if business or the enforcer should decide whether the standard is met.

Codes and Guidance

Is any statutory code or non-statutory guidance needed at all?

Is any necessary code or guidance as short, simply expressed and non-prescriptive as possible?

Clarity and presentation

If the directive covers areas which are the responsibility of more than one department, are all implementing measures properly integrated?

When all issues of substance in the regulation have been resolved, is there any additional scope for consolidation?

Are all implementing measures expressed in plain English?


When and by whom will the actual impact be monitored?

111   The "Section 5 principles" are set out in Section 5 of and Schedule 1 to the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. Back

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Prepared 21 July 1997