Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments First Report


Memorandum by the Department of Social Security


  1. The Committee has asked the Department for a Memorandum on the following points:-

  Under regulation 3(4) the Secretary of State is required (if he decides to review a determination) to notify certain persons that they may request a formal hearing and may make representations in connection with the review within 21 days of receipt of the notice. If the Secretary of State refuses to grant such a request, he is not to proceed to make his review until he has allowed the person making the request for a formal hearing at least 21 days to make any written submissions in connection with the review: regulation 4(2). On the other hand, regulation 5(1) provides that the Secretary of State shall allow a period of at least 21 days (or, with the agreement of certain persons, a lesser period) to elapse after the sending of notices required by regulation 3(4) and is then to proceed to review the determination as soon as practicable. Explain the relationship between these provisions and, in particular, whether the minimum period of 21 days for making written submissions (mentioned in regulation 4(2) is a further period which is separate from the minimum period for making representations (mentioned in regulation 3(4)).

  2. The minimum period of 21 days mentioned in regulation 4(2) was not intended to be a further period which is separate from the period mentioned in regulation 3(4). The reference in regulation 4(2) to the requirement for 21 days to be allowed for written submissions was included simply to clarify that the period referred to in regulation 5(1) should continue to apply notwithstanding the Secretary of State's decision to proceed with a review without a hearing. With hindsight, it would have been better as a matter of consistency in regulation 4(2) to have used the word "representations" instead of "submissions". However, a further indication of the relationship between the provisions is provided by the fact that if it had been intended to refer to a fresh 21 day period, it would have been necessary to make express provision for this in regulation 5(1), and for the giving of notices of the fresh period to the applicant.

21st March 1997

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