Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Twenty-Seventh Report

Annex 3


Letter from Lord Filkin, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, to the Chairman

I am writing in response to your most recent report as Chair of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform, published on 22 October, which considered delegated powers provisions contained in amendments tabled to the Courts Bill.

The Committee was on the whole content with the delegated powers contained in amendments tabled in the House of Commons, and due to be considered by the Lords shortly. The one exception relates to the provision allowing the Lord Chancellor to set the "prescribed hourly sum", by which fine payment work will be set. As the Committee noted in its report, the hourly sum will determine the number of hours to be worked in order for a fine to be deemed 'paid'. The Government accepts that the hourly rate should therefore be set by regulations subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, rather than the negative procedure, as the Bill as drafted provided for. This meets the concerns expressed by the Committee in paragraph 4 of the twenty-sixth report.

Suitable Government amendments were tabled yesterday, for debate in the Lords, and subsequently for confirmation in the Commons.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Committee for their detailed scrutiny of the delegated powers in the Courts Bill during its Parliamentary passage, and for their thoughtful and helpful recommendations.

31 October 2003

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