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 Department
of Trade and Industry in connection with the Measuring Instruments
(EEC Requirements) (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/861)
is printed in Appendix I to this Report.
3. A memorandum by the Northern
Ireland Court Service in connection with the Legal Advice and
Assistance (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 (S.R. 1999/131)
is printed in Appendix II to this Report.
4. Memoranda by the Department
of Social Security and the Inland Revenue in connection with the
Social Security (Contributions and Credits) (Miscellaneous Amendments)
Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/568) are printed in Appendix
III to this Report.
ROAD TRAFFIC (NHS CHARGES) (REVIEWS AND APPEALS) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/786)
5. The Committee draws the special
attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that
they are defectively drafted.
6. The Regulations make provision
for the review of a certificate of NHS charges, appeals against
certificates and the right of appeal to the High Court on a point
of law. Regulation 11(3) provides that, without prejudice to provisions
for appeal to the High Court under section 9 of the Road Traffic
(NHS Charges) Act 1999 (appeals on a point of law), there is to
be no other appeal against the tribunal's correction of an accidental
error in a decision. The Committee asked the Department of Health
to explain what sort of correction of an accidental error in a
decision could give rise to an appeal on a point of law under
section 9. The Department answer in the memorandum printed in
Appendix IV that a tribunal may correctly decide that a certain
charge is payable, but wrongly specify the amount when giving
its decision, or wrongly record the charge in the record of the
decision. Where the decision or record is corrected, the person
to whom the certificate was issued, or the Secretary of State,
may dispute that the corrected figure is the amount properly payable.
Under these circumstances there could be an appeal under section
9 of the Act. This answer fails to differentiate between a dispute
over the amount properly payable, which could lead to a dispute
over a question of law, and the act of correction itself, which
could not. The saving "without prejudice to provisions for
appeals to the court under section 9 of the Act" and the
word "other" should not have been included in regulation
11(3), and the Committee reports it for defective drafting.
NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (LIABILITIES TO THIRD PARTIES SCHEME) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/873)
NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (PROPERTY EXPENSES SCHEME) REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/874)
7. The Committee draws the special
attention of both Houses to both of these Regulations for an unjustifiable
breach of the 21-day rule.
8. Instruments should be laid
before Parliament at least 21 days before they come into force,
but both of these Regulations were laid before Parliament only
15 days before they were due to come into force. The Department
of Health said in the first memorandum printed in Appendix V that
it had not been possible for the two instruments to comply with
the 21 day rule because "delays in the drafting of the schemes
have resulted in the Regulations being made later than anticipated".
The Committee asked them to elaborate on this comment, and say
why the Regulations could not have been prepared earlier. The
Department explain in the second memorandum printed in Appendix
V that the Regulations had to come into force on 1 April or else
NHS trusts might have been left without insurance cover. Work
began on the Regulations in December 1998, but they were not ready
to be laid before Parliament in time because their contents and
wording had not been agreed by the Department, their external
advisers and the Special Health Authority responsible for running
the schemes. The Committee does not find the circumstances to
be such as to justify the delay in making and laying these Regulations
and accordingly reports both Regulations for an unjustifiable
breach of the 21-day rule.
In the Annex to the Committee's 15th
report of this Session, the National Health Service (Property
Expenses Scheme) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/874) were incorrectly
listed as being an instrument to which the Committee did not draw
the special attention of both Houses. The Regulations are reported
to both Houses in this report.
1 The Orders of Reference of the Committee are set out in the First Report, Session 1998-99 (HL Paper 4; HC 50-i). Back