Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Ninth 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 from the Department of Trade and Industry in connection with the Copyright (Certification of Licensing Scheme for Educational Recording of Broadcasts and Cable Programmes) (Educational Recording Agency Limited) (Amendment) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/3452), is printed in Appendix 1 to this Report.

  3. A memorandum from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in connection with the Rail Accessibility (Croydon Tramlink Class CR4000 Vehicles) Exemption Order 2000 (S.I. 2000/6) is printed in Appendix 2 to this Report.

  4. A memorandum from the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food in connection with the Sea Fishing (Enforcement of Community Control Measures) Order 2000 (S.I. 2000/51) is printed in Appendix 3 to this Report.


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

  6. These Regulations implement, for Great Britain, Council Directive 85/337/EEC (as amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC) in the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, in respect of certain harbour works. The Committee asked the Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions whether, in Regulation 8(4) and paragraph 16(4) of new Schedule 3, the reference to respectively paragraph and sub-paragraph "(2)(a)" was intended to be a reference to "(2)(b)". The Committee also asked whether the reference in Regulation 14(2) which makes it an offence for a person to fail without reasonable notice to comply with a notice served on him under Regulation "11(1) or 12(1)" should have read "11(1) or 13(1)". The Department, in the memorandum printed in Appendix 4, acknowledge that in both respects the instrument is defective and have undertaken to issue amending regulations at the earliest possible opportunity. The Committee therefore reports these Regulations for defective drafting, acknowledged by the Department.


  7. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these rules on the ground that there was an unjustified delay in their laying.

  8. These Rules amend the Family Proceedings Rules 1991 so as to create a new procedural code for applications for ancillary relief under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The instrument was made on 15th December 1999 but not laid before Parliament until 14th January 2000. The Committee asked the Lord Chancellor's Department why such a delay had occurred. The Department's explanation, in the memorandum printed in Appendix 5, is that the Christmas and New Year breaks combined with the need for several proofs of the complex forms contained in the rules to give rise to an unavoidable delay.

  9. The Committee cannot accept this explanation. Laying is not dependent on the availability of a perfected copy and is possible as soon as an acceptable version is available in draft form. Neither does a parliamentary recess preclude laying: it would have been possible to lay this type of instrument in draft from on certain days during the Christmas and New Year recess in the period between 15th December and 14th January. We have indicated on several occasions that the desire to lay an instrument in its final form is not a sufficient reason to delay laying. Accordingly, the Committee reports these Rules for an unacceptable delay in laying before Parliament.


  10. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to this Order on the ground that it is defectively drafted.

  11. This Order creates, in limited circumstances, an exemption from the requirements for pet cats and dogs imported into England to be placed in quarantine under the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974 (S.I. 1974/2211). The Committee asked the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to explain the number of certificates required by the instrument since article 9(1) of the Order refers to "all three certificates" and yet article 7(1) requires only two certificates. The Department were asked to identify the third certificate and consequently, to explain the certificates indicated by the phrase "all health certificates" in article 10(3).

  12. In the memorandum printed in Appendix 6 the Department explain that three separate documents are required under article 7 of the Order: (i) a certificate concerning rabies issued by an official veterinary surgeon of the issuing country; (ii) a certificate concerning ticks and tapeworm and (iii) a declaration by the importer that the animal has not been outside the permitted countries and territories in the six months prior to importation. These are the "three certificates" referred to in article 9(1).

  13. The memorandum explains that the declaration by the importer is in effect a health certificate and that article 10(3)'s reference to "all health certificates" is regarded as covering the declaration as well as the documents described as "certificates". The Department submits that the phrase "all health certificates issued under this order" is not inaccurate but acknowledges that it is "unfortunate" and could be misconstrued as referring only to the "two certificates".

  14. The Committee is mindful that criminal penalties may be applied to those who do not comply with the provisions of this Order and therefore judges seriously any internal inconsistencies which could give rise to misunderstandings on the part of those who are expected to comply with it. The Department state in the memorandum that the instrument will be amended after a pilot period if there is a demonstrable need or if an opportunity arises. The Committee considers that, given the possible serious consequences of non-compliance, amendments should be made at an early opportunity. The Committee reports regulations 9(1) and 10(3) for defective drafting.

1   The Orders of Reference of the Committee are set out in the First Report, Session 1999-2000 (HL Paper 4; HC 47-i). Back

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