Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Seventh Report




  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. A memorandum by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in connection with the Agriculture Act 1986 (Amendment) Regulations 1997 (S.I. 1997/1457) is printed in Appendix I to this Report.

CONSULAR FEES ORDER 1997 (S.I. 1997/1314)

  3. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to this Order on the ground that its Explanatory Note is incomplete.

  The Order increases the fees for settlement and marriage visas. The Committee asked the Department to explain why the Explanatory Note does not (as it is required to do by paragraph 2.77 of Statutory Instrument Practice) indicate the old fees or the amount of the increase. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office explain in a memorandum printed in Appendix II that the information was omitted in error and that corresponding information will be included in respect of similar Orders in the future. The Committee reports the Explanatory Note to the Order for being incomplete, acknowledged by the Department.


  4. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Rules on the grounds that they require the elucidation provided by the memorandum printed in Appendix III in one respect and that they are defectively drafted in another.

  Rules 3(2) and 3(3)(c) require the appellant to serve, in certain cases, notice on "all parties to the preparatory hearing directly affected" by the ruling. Rule 4(1) requires the respondent to serve a copy of a notice on the "appellant and any other party to the proceedings directly affected by the ruling". The Committee asked the Department to explain what is meant by `a party directly affected by the ruling'. The Home Office state in the memorandum printed in Appendix III that the term "party directly affected by the ruling" is intended to refer to a party who is affected by the ruling of the Crown Court judge (as to the admissibility of evidence or a point of law), in the sense that the ruling construes the law applying to the criminal charge against him or the evidence which may be presented in connection with that charge. They explain that the term was used in the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (Preparatory Hearings) (Interlocutory Appeals) Rules 1988, which set out the procedure applicable to an appeal from the order or ruling of a judge under section 9(3)(b) or (c) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987. The Committee reports rules 3(2) and 3(3)(c) on the ground that they require the elucidation provided.

  The Committee also asked the Department why rules 10(1)(b) and 12(2)(b) refer to any other "person" (in addition to the appellant and respondent) who is directly affected by the ruling, and not to any other "party". The Department accept that there is an unintended discrepancy between the references to "person" in rules 10(1)(b) and 12(2)(b) and the references to "party" in rules 3(2), 3(3)(c) and 4(1), and undertake to amend rules 10(1)(b) and 12(2)(b) at the next available opportunity. The Committee reports rules 10(1)(b) and 12(2)(b) for defective drafting, acknowledged by the Department.

1   * The Orders of Reference of the Committee are set out in the First Report, Session 1997-98 (HL Paper 4; HC 33-i). Back

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