Joint Committee On Human Rights Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

10.  Memorandum from the Department of Health


  1.  The Department provides this explanatory memorandum to assist the Joint committee on Human Rights.

  2.  This explanatory memorandum should be read in conjunction with the explanatory notes accompanying the Mental Health Act 1983 (Remedial) Order 2001 ("the Order").

  3.  The Order is subject to the "urgent" procedure prescribed in paragraphs 2a and 4 of Schedule 2 to the Human Rights Act 1998. The "urgent" procedure is an affirmative procedure in that the Order is laid after making, but cannot remain in force after a period of 120 days beginning from the date the Order was made unless approved by each House of Parliament within that period.

  4.  The Order was made on 18 November 2001 and shall come into force on 26 November 2001. The Department does not consider that the Order comes into force unreasonably soon in light of the JCHR's previously expressed view that the remedying of an ECHR incompatibility in legislation which could affect the liberty of the individual should be regarded as an urgent matter. Further, the JCHR have previously expressed the view that the change in law proposed is relatively simple and uncontroversial.

  5.  The delay in the Order coming in to effect is to allow the Department time to inform all the interested groups of the change to the Mental Health Act 1983. In particular, the Department needs to ensure that patient groups and Tribunal members are aware of the changes and the timing of their implementation.

19 November 2001

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