Select Committee on Deregulation and Regulatory Reform First Report

Appendix 4

Letter from the Clerk of the Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee to the Justices' Clerks Society, the Magistrates' Association and the Association of Justices' Chief Executives (dated 19 July 2001)

Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Special Occasions Licencing) Order 2001

I understand that you have previously responded to the Government's consultation on the above Regulatory Reform proposal, which is intended to relax licencing hours on New Years' Eve this year.

As you will be aware, the proposal has now been laid before Parliament, and it therefore falls to the relevant Parliamentary committees to examine it. The House of Commons Deregulation and Regulatory Reform Committee considered the proposal for the first time at its meeting last Tuesday.

Following initial consideration of the proposal, the Committee is very concerned that the late stage at which it has been brought forward undermines the maintenance of necessary protection (safeguarded in this proposed Order by the system of restriction orders). Because of the timetable for Parliamentary scrutiny laid down in the Regulatory Reform Act, the proposed Order could not become law before early to mid-December. This leaves only a very short time for those concerned to apply for restriction orders, and in particular for the licencing authorities to consider such applications.

The Committee would therefore be grateful for your views on the practicability of the proposed Order, with particular reference to the ability of licencing authorities to consider applications for restriction orders.

The Committee would also be interested to hear your views on whether it is the case that the majority of licensees will already have made provision for opening over New Year's Eve before this Order could come into effect; and if so what value the proposal has in terms of removing or reducing burdens.

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