Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fourth 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. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the grounds that they require elucidation; and that the explanatory notes are inadequate.

  3. These Regulations make provision requiring certain local authorities to provide support to asylum-seekers and their dependants who appear to be, or to be likely to become, destitute. Regulation 2(1) defines a person's "dependant" in terms of various paragraphed cases, including in paragraph (c) his being a member of his (or his spouse's) "close family". The Committee asked the Home Office to explain what relationships constitute "close family". The Home Office, in the memorandum printed in Appendix 1, explains that, because family structures in foreign countries are often more diffuse than family structures in the United Kingdom, the policy was to use an expression with sufficient flexibility to adapt to circumstances as they arose and the memorandum gives some core relationships as examples. The Committee find this explanation convincing and report the Regulations as requiring the elucidation given in the memorandum.

  4. The Committee also asked the Home Office to explain the sort of situation covered by the definition in paragraph (i), namely where that person is himself "the asylum-seeker" in a case where the "person" is a claimant for support or is being supported. The Department's memorandum explains this sort of case with an example where members of the asylum-seeker's family have been provided with support where he remains in detention. This definition enables the sylum seeker, on his release, to be supported as part of the family without requiring him to make a separate application. The Committee finds this a sufficient elucidation of the definition and reports the Regulations accordingly on this point.

  5. The Committee also drew the Department's attention to the inadequacy of the explanatory note, which contains no explanation of the main provisions of these regulations. The Committee accept that the explanatory note to these regulations is accurate but are of the view that they are too short to be helpful to the reader. The short sentence of further explanation in the Department's memorandum would have been sufficient for the purpose and should have been added to the explanatory note. The Committee report the explanatory note for being inadequate.


  6. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they are defectively drafted.

  7. These Regulations implement Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council dating from 13 October 1998, in relation to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels.

  8. The Committee asked the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to explain the provision of Schedule 2, paragraph 1(1), which obliges a permit holder to ensure that the amount of petrol distributed each month remains within a specified percentage of that part of the distribution statement provided in accordance with paragraph 8(c) of Schedule 1. The Committee (taking the view that the provision must have been intended to inidcate a quantity of petrol) asked the Department whether the quantity of leaded petrol, a percentage of which was not to be exceeded, was intended to be the total tonnage stated in the applicant's Schedule 1 Statement under paragraph 6(c). The Department, in the Memorandum printed in Appendix 2, indicates that the paragraph operated by requiring the distribution to keep within a percentage of a percentage, rather than a percentage of a specified tonnage. Accepting this, the Committee nevertheless considers that it cannot be correct (as a matter of language and proper drafting) to refer to a percentage of a statement and accordingly report that this provision is defectively drafted.

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

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