Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Thirty-Second Report


Memorandum from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


REGULATIONS 2002 (S.I. 2002/1227)

1. The Joint Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:-

Where an appeal by a person who has paid a charge for veterinary checks to a local authority is successful on the ground that the amount is unreasonable, regulation 53(2) requires the local authority to recalculate the charge and to repay the difference. Explain why no similar provision is made for recalculation and repayment where an appeal (under regulation 53(3)) is successful on the ground that the amount of the charge paid to the Secretary of State or the Agency is unreasonable.

2. The Joint Committee previously raised this point in connection with the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1006/3124). On that occasion the Department replied that the terms of appointment of the independent person (who determined appeals against charges imposed by the Minister under the 1996 Regulations) were determined by the Minister under regulation 34(5) of the 1996 Regulations. It was expected that they would be likely to require the independent person to make recommendations to the Minister. Whilst the Minister would not be bound by those requirements, in practice he could normally be expected to follow them.

3. The Joint Committee did not agree with the Department's approach.

4. Having had the view of the Joint Committee brought to its attention again, the Department agrees that in the circumstances the 2002 Regulations should now be amended to reflect the Committee's view.

5. The 2002 Regulations will need to be amended regularly to incorporate new Community import conditions. The Department proposes, at the first such amendment, to add to regulation 53 a provision for recalculation and repayment where a charge paid to the Secretary of State or the Agency is held, on appeal, to be unreasonable.

27 May 2002

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