FROM THE JOINT COMMITTEE OF BOTH HOUSES APPOINTED TO SCRUTINISE STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS, ETC.
1. The Committee has considered the instruments set out in the Annex to this Report and has determined that the special attention of both Houses does not require to be drawn to any of them.
2. Memoranda from the Department of Health in connection with the National Health Service (General Medical Services Supplementary List) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002/848) are printed in Appendix 1.
TSE (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2002 (S.I. 2002/843)
3. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they are defectively drafted in a number of respects.
4. These Regulations provide for the administration and enforcement, in England, of various Community instruments relating to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies ("TSE").
5. The Committee identified several instances of what appeared to be defective drafting in these Regulations:
the definition of "cutting premises" in regulation 3(1) is patently defective;
regulation 71(2)(p) confers the right for an inspector to enter premises and slaughter any TSE susceptible animal for any purpose connected with the administration or enforcement of Part IV of the Regulations (which is concerned with "specified risk material", namely parts of dead animals, and does not therefore apply to animals capable of being slaughtered);
Regulation 9(2) begins with the words "Subject to paragraph (3) below", but there is no paragraph so numbered;
Regulation 99(3) refers to "an offence under any of the provisions referred to in paragraph (2) above", but paragraph (2) refers only to "an offence under this regulation".
6. In a memorandum printed at Appendix 2, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs acknowledges that these were errors, and undertakes to correct them in a further instrument. This amending instrument has now been made: The TSE (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002/1253). The Committee accordingly reports the Regulations for defective drafting, acknowledged by the Department.
7. The Committee has a further concern about these Regulations. They refer in many places, including the title of the instrument itself, to "TSE" without any express explanation of the meaning of those initials. The Committee considered that it was unhelpful that the instrument nowhere contains an express indication of what TSE means. The Department, whilst noting the Committee's concern and undertaking to bear this in mind in future, explains that, by virtue of regulation 3(2), the expression has the same meaning as it has in the relevant Community legislation. The Committee accepts the Department's comments as to the effect of regulation 3(2), and agrees that the Regulations are not defectively drafted in this respect. It does, however, consider that in general where an abbreviation is used in an instrument, its meaning should be explained in an appropriately prominent way. Normally, the interpretation provision would be the appropriate place, as this is where most readers would be expected to look. The Committee reminds Departments that not everyone who needs to read a statutory instrument will be familiar with acronyms or abbreviations used in it, particularly where these relate to a specialised field, however familiar they may be to those within the Department and those primarily affected by the instrument.
1 The Orders of Reference of the Committee are set out in the First Report, Session 2001-02 (HL Paper 7; HC 135-i). Back