Psychoactive Substances Bill

Written evidence submitted by the Drugs, Alcohol and Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group (PSB 16)

Chair: Lord David Ramsbotham (Crossbench)

A Parliamentary Group which acts as an interface for professional providers of drug and alcohol treatment with parliamentarians of all parties who share an interest in these issues.

1. We are concerned at the ha ste with which the Bill has been drafted and considered , which could lead to serious unintended consequences. In our view, as currently drafted and presented, it lacks clarity.

2. We would strongly recommend therefore, that -

Ø Careful consideration is given to t he submissions provided by Release and Transform

Ø The advice provided by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) , regarding the scope of the proposed legislation and definitions of substances, is adhered to

Ø The Bill is scrutinised to ensure compliance with Lord Bingham's Eight Principles of the Rule of Law

· The law must be accessible and so far as possible, intelligible, clear & predictable.

· Questions of legal right and liability should ordinarily be resolved by application of the law and not the exercise of discretion.

· The laws of the land should apply equally to all, save to the extent that objective differences justify differentiation.

· Ministers and public officers at all levels must exercise the powers conferred on them in good faith, fairly, for the purpose for which the powers were conferred, without exceeding the limits of such powers and not unreasonably.

· The law must afford adequate protection of fundamental human rights.

· Means must be provided for resolving without prohibitive cost or inordinate delay, bone fide civil disputes which the parties themselves are unable to resolve.

· Adjudicative procedures provided by the state should be fair.

· The rule of law requires compliance by the state with its obligations in international law as in national law.

October 2015

Prepared 27th October 2015