At its meeting on 9 May 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 two of those considered. The Instruments and the grounds for reporting them are given below. The relevant Departmental memoranda are published as appendices to this report.
1.1The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to this Order on the ground that it is defectively drafted in one respect.
1.2The purpose of this Order is twofold: to increase the amount of fees and to change the basis for charging fees from years beginning on 1 April to years beginning on 6 April. Article 2(1) of this Order states that, in addition to the fees payable under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (Fees) Order 2015, in respect of the period of twelve months beginning with 6 April 2018 the holder of a relevant licence must pay an additional fee which is to be determined in accordance with the provisions which follow. Article 2 of the 2015 Order prescribed the fees payable by the holder of a relevant licence in respect of the period of twelve months beginning on 1 April in any year. Article 4 of this Order revokes the 2015 Order on 6 April 2018, the date this Order came into force.
1.3The Committee asked the Home Office how fees are payable under the 2015 Order on or after 6 April, this question applying in particular in the case of a person who does not hold a licence before that date. In a memorandum printed at Appendix 1, the Department states that it believes that the requirement of article 2 of the 2015 Order triggered a requirement to pay the specified annual fee from 1 April 2018 for any licence holder who holds a licence during the following year and that this requirement was not extinguished by the revocation of that Order due to the operation of section16(1)(c) of the Interpretation Act 1978. The Department asserts that this would mean that a person applying for a licence after 6 April 2018 is required to pay the fee specified in the 2015 Order as well as the additional fee specified in this Order.
1.4Section 16(1)(c) of the Interpretation Act 1978 provides that the repeal of an enactment does not, unless the contrary intention appears, affect any right, privilege, obligation or liability acquired, accrued or incurred under that enactment. The Committee accepts that a person who held a relevant licence on 1 to 5 April was required to pay a fee in in respect of the current year in accordance with the 2015 Order, and that that requirement is not affected by the revocation of that Order. In the case of a person who is granted a licence on or after 6 April 2018, however, no obligation or liability has been incurred under that Order (because the Order no longer had the force of law when the licence was first held) so it must follow that section 16(1)(c) cannot apply. Such a person is therefore required to pay only the additional fee for the year ending on 5 April 2019 (or, arguably, no fee at all).
1.5Normal ways of achieving the Department’s stated policy would have been to revoke the 2015 Order as from 1 April 2019, or to revoke it now but subject to an express saving provision. Failure to use either approach means that the Order fails to achieve the Department’s stated policy, and the Committee accordingly reports the Order for defective drafting.
2.1The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they fail to comply with proper legislative practice in two respects.
2.2These Regulations are made by the Secretary of State under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. The preamble to the instrument states that the Secretary of State is a Minister designated for the purposes of that section in relation to measures relating to safety as regards appliances burning gaseous fuels.
2.3The first 19 regulations and the first five Schedules of this instrument deal with matters covered by that designation. Regulation 20 and Schedule 6, however, amend unrelated statutory instruments relating to lifts, recreational craft, and radio equipment respectively. The three instruments concerned were also made under section 2(2) and their preambles each cited a relevant designation in relation to the relevant matters.
2.4In a memorandum printed at Appendix 2, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy accepts that the further designations should have been cited in the preamble to this instrument. The Committee accordingly reports the preamble to this instrument for failure to comply with proper legislative practice, acknowledged by the Department.
2.5The Committee also asked the Department whether the subject heading to this instrument should have included a reference to telecommunications as well as to consumer protection and health and safety. The Department agrees that it could validly have done no, but points out that the amendment made by this instrument does relate to health and safety. As the heading of the amended instrument contained only the word “TELECOMMUNICATIONS” the Committee considers that the heading to this instrument should at least have included that word. The Committee accordingly reports the subject heading of this instrument for failure to comply with proper legislative practice.
Published: 11 May 2018