Effective parliamentary scrutiny
1.10 The Bill contains provisions which were originally
expected to be in two separate Bills trailed in the draft legislative
programme: the Coroners and Death Certification Bill and the Law
Reform, Victims and Witnesses Bill.
In addition, it proposes significant changes to data protection
law and to the powers of the Information Commissioner.
1.11 The breadth and size of the Bill and the
legal complexity and diversity of the topics it covers have been
the subject of concern during the Bill's passage through the House
of Commons given the limited time provided for scrutiny.
We add our voice to those concerns. Large, multi-purpose bills
of this sort are almost impossible to scrutinise effectively within
the limited timescale provided by the Government. Given the range
and significance of the human rights issues raised in this bill,
the Government should have introduced two or three separate bills,
each of which would have been substantial pieces of legislation
in their own right or ensured that there was sufficient time for
full pre-legislative and Committee stage scrutiny in the House
of Commons. We welcome the fact that two days have been given
over for Report stage in the House of Commons, a step not taken
in relation to previous Bills of similar size, including the Criminal
Justice and Immigration Bill, which we considered in the last