Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Seventh Report


Memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

REGULATIONS 1999 (S.I. 1999/3206)

  1. The Committee has asked for a memorandum on the following point:

    Regulation 3(c) provides for the substitution of the definition of "pleasure vessel" in regulation 1(2) of the 1993 Regulations. The new definition provides that that expression means a pleasure vessel as defined in regulation 2 of the Merchant Shipping (Vessels in Commercial Use for Sport and Pleasure) Regulations 1998. Explain why this provision, instead of referring the reader to the 1998 Regulations, does not set out the definition: compare S.I. 1999/2721 and 2722 where the Department have adopted the more helpful course of setting out the definition of "pleasure vessel" in full.

  2. As explained in the Department's Memorandum to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments on a similar query relating to the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigations) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/2567), the definition of "pleasure vessel" is a complicated one which incorporates six separate paragraphs and 23 lines of printed text. It also necessitates a definition of "immediate family". The definition remains constant throughout current secondary legislation on merchant shipping. It was therefore considered, in the context of the present Regulations, that the benefits of signalling that the definition of "pleasure vessel" previously used in merchant shipping legislation was being applied unchanged, and of keeping the Regulations comparatively short, outweighed the benefits of setting out the definition in full.

  3. As the Committee observes, a different decision was taken in relation to the longer S.I. 1999/2721 and 2722. The Department considers that it is not always easy to draw the dividing line between Regulations where the definition should be set out in full and Regulations where a cross reference might be appropriate. But in the light of the Committee's views it proposes that in the future it will in general try to adopt the approach of setting out this definition in full in any future merchant shipping legislation, and to signal in the footnote or explanatory note that this is the same as that used in regulation 2 of the Merchant Shipping (Vessels in Commercial Use for Sport and Pleasure) Regulations 1998 and other merchant shipping legislation.

13th January 2000

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