Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Seventh Report


Memorandum from the Lord Chancellor's Department


REGULATIONS 2001 (S.I. 2001/2313)

1. The Lord Chancellor's Department submits this memorandum in response to the Committee's request dated 16 October 2001 on the following points:

(1)  Explain how regulation 12(3)(d) is compatible with regulation 4(4) of the Road User Charging (Charges and Penalty Charges) (London) Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/2285), which provides that a charging scheme shall specify the time and manner in which a penalty charge is to be paid.

2. The Department accepts that these provisions are not consistent. The wording in regulation 12(3)(d) will be amended to provide that the penalty charge must be paid before the end of the period specified in the charging scheme.

(2)  Explain why regulation 13(1) does not require representations to be made in writing but regulation 10(2) does. If representations are made otherwise than in writing, explain how the charging authority can provide a copy of them as required by paragraph 3(2) of the Schedule.

3. It is highly likely that representations would be made otherwise than in writing, the Department accepts that it would have been preferable to provide for this expressly and will amend the Regulations to achieve this.

(3)  with regard to regulation 17—

(a)  explain how "the relevant period", as defined is compatible with regulation 4(4)(b) of S.I. 2001/2285, which states that a charging scheme may provide that the amount of a penalty charge is to be increased by such proportion as may be specified in the scheme if it is not duly paid within such time and in such manner or circumstances as may be so specified;

4. The Department accepts that there is an inconsistency between these two provisions. The definition of the "relevant period" in regulation 17 will be amended to provide that it is compatible with the period as specified in the charging scheme.

(b)  explain how regulation 17(2)(b) is intended to operate in a case where an appeal is made to the adjudicator after the 28 days mentioned in regulation 16(1) have expired but within a period allowed by an adjudicator under regulation 16(1)(b).

5. Regulation 16(2) contains powers for the adjudicator to give directions to the charging authority. It is possible for an extension to be granted after the 28 day period has expired. It is intended that such directions could include procedural adjustments necessary to reflect the consequences of the adjudicator allowing a longer period for lodging an appeal, such as requiring a charging authority to withdraw a charge certificate. This may have been the intention of Parliamentary Counsel who drafted paragraphs 5 and 6 of Schedule 6 to the Road Traffic Act 1991 (c. 40) which regulations 16 and 17 replicate.

(4)  Given that, under regulation 4(4) of S.I. 2001/2285, a charging scheme need not provide for penalty charges to be increased and that regulations 18 to 20 apply only where an increased penalty charge has been imposed, explain how a penalty charge which is not increased is to be enforced.

6. The Department accepts that the wording of regulation 18 only provides for enforcement of a charge certificate where an increased penalty charge provided for in the certificate has not been duly paid. The Department also agrees that the powers which regulation 4(4) confers on charging authorities to raise or reduce penalty charges are discretionary. Regulation 18 will be amended to provide for the enforcement of all penalty charges, whether increased or otherwise.

7. The Department apologises for the inconsistencies and omission in the Regulations. There are at present no charging schemes in force. The Department will amend the Regulations as outlined above before any charging schemes are in force.

19 October 2001

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