Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Fifth Report



Supplementary Memorandum by the Home Office

1.  This supplementary Memorandum responds to the Committee's Report dated 11 December 2002 on the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill, and on the Department's Memorandum to the Committee dated 26 November 2002.

Clause 91

2.  In paragraph 5 of its Report and in relation to the power in clause 91 to make consequential and supplementary provision, the Committee considers that negative procedure is sufficient for amendments to secondary legislation, but recommends that affirmative procedure should apply to amendments to Acts of Parliament because of the importance of the subject­matter of the Bill. The Department is happy to accept this recommendation and intends to bring forward an amendment at Committee stage to provide that orders which make provision amending or repealing Acts of Parliament are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

Clause 52(2)(b)

3.  In paragraph 6 of its Report, the Committee notes that the power contained in clause 52(2)(b) for the Secretary of State by order to designate any country as a "participating country" for the purposes of Part 1 of the Bill is subject to negative procedure. As the Committee notes, the power is not limited, in the case of process and obtaining information about bank accounts, to countries participating in the Mutual Legal Assistance Convention or Protocol or, in the case of freezing order, to countries that become member states of the European Union at some time in the future. Unless the scope of this power is restricted, the Committee recommends that it be subject to affirmative procedure. The Department wishes to maintain the flexibility offered by the order­making power to designate any country, if this is considered appropriate in future circumstances. The Department has considered the Committee's recommendation, and the Government intends to table an amendment at Committee stage, which will have the effect of allowing new Member States of the EU to be designated by negative resolution, but any other country designated will be subject to affirmative resolution. The Department considers this will provide appropriate opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny.

Clause 27

4.  In paragraph 7 of its Report, the Committee notes that the Treasury is given power in clause 27 to provide that functions conferred on the Secretary of State may be exercisable by the Commissioner of Customs and Excise. The Committee considers that the Government should explain why the power is exercisable by the Treasury rather than by the Secretary of State. The Department considers that this power is properly exercisable by the Treasury because the Treasury is the Government department with responsibility for HM Customs and Excise, and therefore holds the power to make orders on its behalf. A similar power was given to the Treasury in section 7(7) of the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990, which is replicated by this clause.

16 December 2002

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