At its meeting on 25 April 2018 the Committee scrutinised a number of Instruments in accordance with Standing Orders. It was agreed that the special attention of both Houses should be drawn to one of those considered. The Instrument and the ground for reporting it is given below. The relevant Departmental memorandum is published as an appendix to this report.
1.1The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they are defectively drafted in one respect.
1.2Regulation 2(3) amends regulation 32A of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Regulations 2012. Sub-paragraph (e) substitutes a new regulation 32A(8), which defines “application date” for the purpose of that regulation. In the case where “relevant activities” (as defined) are due to commence in the scheme year 2015 [or 2016], the definition refers to the date on which the 2015 activities [or 2016 activities] are due to commence. The expressions “2015 activities” and “2016 activities” are not defined in the 2012 Regulations, although they were before the amendment made by regulation 2(3)(b) of this instrument, which replaces them with the expression “the relevant activities”. The Committee asked the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy why the definitions of the two expressions were revoked when they are used in the substituted regulation 32A(8).
1.3In a memorandum printed as an Appendix, the Department accepts that it could have used an alternative phrase in regulation 32A(8), such as “the activities” or “these activities”, but states that it is satisfied that the meaning is clear and unambiguous.
1.4The Committee does not agree with the Department that the meaning of the undefined expressions would be clear and unambiguous to a reader of the amended instrument without knowledge of its history. Where legislation uses an expression which has no obvious everyday meaning, that expression needs to be defined if the reader is to know precisely what is intended. In this case, the Department could have used an alternative expression along the lines it now suggests, or it could have retained the original definitions; the Committee fails to understand why the Department did not use one of those approaches, and accordingly reports regulation 2(3) for defective drafting.
Published: 27 April 2018