Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Forty-Seventh Report


Memorandum by the Scottish Office


1.  This Memorandum is submitted to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments in response to their letter of 28 October 1998 in which they asked for a memorandum on the following point:

    This instrument came into force before it was laid. Has the Department sent to the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons a notification as required by the proviso to section 4(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946? If so, when, and if not, explain why no notification was sent. The Department's attention is drawn to paragraphs 4.25 and 4.26 of the Statutory Instrument Practice, and to the Committee's Thirteenth Report (1997-98 Session) in relation to S.I. 1997/1739 and 1978.

2.  The Order amended the compensation payable for cattle slaughtered for tuberculosis in Scotland and reflected a similar amendment made in respect of England and Wales by the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis (England and Wales) Compensation (Amendment) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/2073) which was brought into force on 26 August 1998. It was regarded as essential that the Scottish Order should be brought into force as soon as possible after the equivalent English Order and the Scottish Order containing the date of coming into force of 4 September was signed by the Minister on 26 August 1998.

3.  The Scottish Order like its English equivalent also required to be signed by two of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury and it was certainly intended that it should be so signed and laid before it came into force. Unfortunately due to the holiday season it appears that unforeseen difficulties arose in obtaining the necessary signatures until 2 September 1998 and the instrument was not laid until 4 September 1998 resulting technically in the instrument coming into force before it was laid.

4.  The Department are very alive to the importance of advising the Speaker and the Lord Chancellor if an instrument comes into force before it is laid. It appears that in the present instance the officials concerned may not have appreciated that the rule applies even when the instrument is laid on the same day as it comes into force. This error is very much regretted and the Department will do its very best to ensure that it does not recur.

2nd November 1998

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