12 JULY 2000
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.
DIVORCE (RELIGIOUS MARRIAGES) BILL [HL]
- AMENDMENTS FOR THIRD READING
1. This Private Member's Bill, introduced by Lord
Lester of Herne Hill, does not contain delegated powers
but the Government proposes to table amendments which include
such a power. The Memorandum submitted to the Committee by the
Lord Chancellor's Department is printed at Annex 1.
2. The Bill is intended to provide assistance, under
the existing law on divorce, to Jewish women denied a religious
divorce. It will apply whether or not the marriage according to
the usages of the Jews created the marriage which our courts are
asked to end and so will apply, for example, to a marriage created
by a civil ceremony in, say, France but where the parties were
also married according to the usages of the Jews. The Bill does
not apply to marriages according to the usages of other religions
which have procedures for granting divorces and so might be thought
to discriminate on grounds of religion (paragraph 6 of the Memorandum)
although no other religious group has asked that the Bill should
be applied to them.
3. The amendment to page 1, line 13, inserting a
new subsection allows the Lord Chancellor to extend the bill by
order to marriages according to religious usages of a kind prescribed
in the order "where the parties are required to co-operate
if the marriage is to be dissolved in accordance with those usages".
An order will be subject to negative procedure.
4. The amendment to page 1, line 23, inserting new
subsections which extend the existing power to make rules of court
to allow procedural provisions to be made about declarations under
5. The Committee sees nothing in these amendments
which it wishes to draw to the attention of the House.
POSTAL SERVICES BILL - GOVERNMENT AMENDMENT
FOR THIRD READING
6. The Committee was informed
by the Department of Trade and Industry that the Government had
tabled an amendment to clause 122 of the bill which governs the
use of orders etc.
7. The amendment sought to delete the three words
"laid before and" from line 43 of page 72 of the latest
print of the Bill. Its aim was to remove an uncertainty that might
have otherwise arisen from the interaction between subsection
(10) of clause 122 of the Bill and section 6(1) of the Statutory
Instruments Act 1946. One of the purposes behind subsection (10)
is to enable provisions which can, by themselves, be made under
the negative resolution procedure to be included in an order with
provisions that have to be approved by the affirmative procedure.
Such a "combined order" is then subject to the affirmative
procedure. That remains the Government's intention. But the view
was subsequently taken that the words that the amendment removed
were unnecessary and could have, on one interpretation, the unintended
and unwanted effect of requiring orders under the Bill following
the negative procedure to be laid in draft for forty days before
being made. This was not the Government's intention, and as the
subsection otherwise makes clear, such orders were intended to
be subject to the normal negative procedure. The amendment removed
this uncertainty and clarified the position.
8. The Committee was unable to report on this amendment
before it was agreed but thought it would be helpful to report
retrospectively that we see it as a "drafting" amendment
which would not in any event have called for comment by the Committee.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND COURT SERVICES BILL
- GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE COMMITTEE'S 22ND REPORT
9. The Government's response to the Committee's 22nd
is printed in Annex 2.
1 We reported that this was the case in our 19th report
of this session, HL Paper 74. Back
2 On 11 July, the day of third reading. The amendment was tabled
on 10 July. Back
3 HL Paper 83. Back
4 This report is also published on the Internet at the House of
Lords Select Committee Home Page (http://www.parliament.uk), where
further information about the work of the Committee is also available. Back