Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Fifteenth Report


19 MAY 1999

By the Select Committee appointed to report whether the provisions of any bill inappropriately delegate legislative power, or whether they subject the exercise of legislative power to an inappropriate degree of parliamentary scrutiny; to report on documents laid before Parliament under section 3(3) of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 and on draft orders laid under section 1(4) of that Act; and to perform, in respect of such documents and orders, the functions performed in respect of other instruments by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.



1.  The bill establishes procedures for enabling the location to be found of the remains of persons killed before 10 April 1998 by members of proscribed organisations. To make it likely that information will be forthcoming the bill guarantees that it will not be admissible against a defendant in criminal proceedings (clause 3) and that anything discovered as a result will similarly not be admissible (clause 3) and must not be subjected to forensic testing (clause 4) except for the limited purposes of clause 4(2) and (3). There are also restrictions on the disclosure of information (clause 5).


2.  Subsection (1) allows the Secretary of State to make an order conferring legal capacities on the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains which was established on 27 April 1999 by agreement between the Governments of the UK and of Ireland. The order may also confer privileges and immunities on the members and servants of the Commission. An order is subject to negative procedure.

3.  Clearly this is an important power, but the essential decisions will be taken by Parliament in passing the primary legislation. In the case of the power to confer privileges and immunities the scope is determined by the International Organisations Act 1968. The Committee also notes that the subsections are similar to section 7(2) of the Northern Ireland Arms Decommissioning Act 1997. We thought that the negative procedure provided the appropriate level of parliamentary control for that power,[1] and we consider it similarly appropriate for the power in the present bill.

4.  Subsection (5) provides that the clause shall come into force on the day appointed by order. Subsection (6) allows the arrangements to be brought to an end by order (which can include any transitional provisions which appear to the Secretary of State to be expedient). An order under either subsection is a statutory instrument but is not subject to Parliamentary control. The Committee considers that this is appropriate as the orders are very similar to commencement orders.


5.  There is nothing in the bill which the Committee wishes to draw to the attention of the House.


6.  This Private Member's bill contains one new legislative power in addition to the simple commencement power.

7.  Clauses 2 and 3 require the Secretary of State to consult "at least one representative body" before determining under section 26(2) of the Companies Act 1985 or section 2(1) of the Business Names Act 1985 whether to approve the use of a name which contains the expression "chamber of commerce" or any related expression. Subsection (1) of clause 4 specifies two relevant representative bodies and subsection (2) allows the Secretary of State to make an order adding to or subtracting from subsection (1). This Henry VIII power is made subject to negative procedure by subsection (3). The Committee considers that negative procedure is appropriate for a Henry VIII power with such limited scope.

8.  Clause 1 places a duty on the Secretary of State to use existing powers to make regulations so as to ensure that approval is required for company or business names including the expression "chamber of commerce".


9.  The Committee has drawn attention to the Henry VIII power in clause 4. There is nothing else in the bill which the Committee wishes to draw to the attention of the House.


10.  This Private Member's bill contains two powers to make regulations. Both are subject to negative procedure.

11.  Clause 2 inserts new provisions in section 1 of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 (conditions to be included in a licence granted by a local authority to a dog breeding establishment). The new condition inserted as paragraph (i) of section 1(4) is a requirement to keep records "in a form prescribed by regulations" and the new subsection (4a) (in clauses 2(3)) provides that regulations may be made by the Secretary of State and are to be subject to negative procedure, which the Committee considers appropriate.

12.  Clause 8 imposes requirements in relation to the sale of dogs by the keeper of a licensed breeding establishment: breach of a requirement is a summary offence (clause 9). One of the requirements is that any dog sold to the keeper of a licensed pet shop or a licensed Scottish rearing establishment must be "wearing a collar with an identifying tag or badge" (subsection (1)(e)). That is defined in subsection (5) as a tag or badge "indicating the licensed breeding establishment at which it was born and any other information required by regulations". The definition in that subsection of "regulations" and the final words of the subsection provide that the regulations may be made by the Secretary of State and are to be subject to negative procedure. Again, the Committee considers that the negative procedure provides the appropriate degree of parliamentary control.


13.  There is nothing in the bill which the Committee wishes to draw to the attention of the House.



14.  These bills contain no delegated legislative powers.[2]

1  12th report 1996-97, HL Paper 35. Back
2  This report is also published on the Internet at the House of Lords Select Committee Home Page (, where further information about the work of the Committee is also available. Back

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