Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Thirty-First 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.


(S.R. 2002/147)

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

3. These Regulations re-enact, with amendments, provisions which prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, handling or use of certain categories of fireworks except under licence.

4. Regulation 4(1) prohibits the possession, etc. of certain fireworks by a person other than a Government Inspector, Constable or representative of an enforcing authority acting in his capacity as such except under licence. Regulation 4(2) prohibits the possession etc. of specified types of firework covered by regulation 4(1) except for commercial use for producing special effects in theatre, film or television. The Committee asked the Northern Ireland Office why regulation 4(2), unlike regulation 4(1), does not provide an exception in the case of an enforcement officer acting in the course of his duties. In its first memorandum printed in the Appendix, the Department states that, as the fireworks referred to in paragraph (2) are included within those referred to in paragraph (1), there is no need to repeat the exemption. As is clear from the Department's second memorandum, the intention was that paragraph (2) should not be read as imposing an additional, and absolute, prohibition, but was intended to limit the types of firework whose possession etc. is authorised by a licence. As worded, however, regulation 4(2) does not achieve this purpose. It imposes a free-standing prohibition on the possession etc. of certain types of firework, and the exceptions contained in regulation 4(1) neither expressly nor implicitly apply. The Committee therefore reports regulation 4(2) for defective drafting.

5. Regulation 8 imposes requirements as to the labelling of fireworks and their packaging. Paragraph (2) prohibits the sale or transfer of sparklers unless the packet in which they are contained is marked with a warning message written in English. Paragraph (3) prohibits the sale or transfer of any firework which is not labelled in English. The Committee doubted whether it was intended that all sparklers should be individually labelled. The Department, in its first memorandum, acknowledges that paragraph (3) is not intended to apply to sparklers or to fireworks to which paragraph (1) applies.

6. Schedule 3 contains a table specifying the fee for a licence, which varies according to the number of people who will attend a fireworks display. The fee is £30 where the attendance of any persons at a display will not exceed 100, and £80 where the attendance will not exceed 1000. The Department acknowledges in its first memorandum that the latter should have been expressed to apply where the attendance will exceed 100 but will not exceed 1000.

7. The Committee accordingly reports regulation 8(3) and Schedule 3 for defective drafting, acknowledged by the Department.

1   The Orders of Reference of the Committee are set out in the First Report, Session 2001-02 (HL Paper 7; HC 135-i). Back

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