Select Committee on Merits of Statutory Instruments Thirty-Third Report


Other instruments of interest

ALLOCATION AND TRANSFER OF PROCEEDINGS ORDER 2008 (SI 2008/2836)

FAMILY PROCEEDINGS COURTS (CHILDREN ACT 1989) (AMENDMENT) RULES 2008 (SI 2008/2858)

MAGISTRATES' COURTS (ENFORCEMENT OF CHILDREN ACT 1989 CONTACT ORDERS) RULES 2008 (SI 2008/2859)

FAMILY PROCEEDINGS (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2) RULES 2008 (SI 2008/2861)

5.  The Allocation and Transfer of Proceedings Order aims to ensure that cases in the family jurisdiction are heard at the lowest most appropriate level of court commensurate with their complexity. This should ease work pressures on the High Court and county court; achieve a more rational distribution of cases between courts that have concurrent jurisdiction; make best use of under-utilised magistrates' Family Proceedings Courts and, thereby, reduce delays in cases being heard. We note that these changes are being made at the same time as the three sets of Rules which implement those provisions of the Children and Adoption Act 2006 which deal with family contact disputes. The changes are expected to result in additional hearings being required in family courts and additional duties being required of Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service in England and Wales whose role is to safeguard the interests of the children concerned). These changes are being made because the Government have been particularly concerned about the number of cases returning to court because contact arrangements have broken down. We commend the degree of consultation that has been undertaken in preparing the changes; but we note that it is none the less a major shift in workload and hope that adequate training and resources have been put in place to manage the transition.

CREMATION (ENGLAND AND WALES) REGULATIONS 2008 (SI 2008/2841)

6.  We commend the Ministry of Justice for bringing forward these updated Regulations which seek to modernise and consolidate the law on cremation. As well as simplifying the statutory forms, the Regulations add a new provision to enable near relatives or executors to inspect the forms completed by medical practitioners before cremation is authorised. The Regulations now also make provision for stillbirths. The proposals have been subject to extensive consultation which has been significant in shaping the final form of the Regulations.

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN IMMIGRATION RULES (HC 1113)

7.  This Statement represents the latest stage in the rollout of the new Points Based System for Immigration and makes changes to the provisions of Tiers 1, 2 and 5. In relation to Tier 2 it makes new provision for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) that will replace the work permits route. A fundamental part of this new skilled worker tier of the system is the identification of shortage occupation lists; a written statement was made on 11 November outlining the current list identified by the Migration Advisory Committee (HL Hansard, 11 November, WS41-6).

8.  The changes also simplify the Business and Special Visitors Category, delete the existing route for Retired Persons of Independent Means and increase the minimum age for obtaining a marriage visa from 18 to 21. However during the transitional period the position may be complex (see for example the material on Ministers of Religion at the Appendix) and the Home Office will need to make strenuous efforts to explain the prevailing position clearly. The Committee, for example, was confused by paragraphs 6.43 - 44 of the Explanatory Memorandum which list a number of immigration routes that are being deleted. What the EM did not make sufficiently clear is that migrants in many of the deleted categories will be able to apply to come to the UK under the Points Based System or as a visitor. For example some nurses are included on the shortage occupation list, and so, provided all other requirements are met, overseas nurses may be able to enter under Tier 2 of the Points Based System. The objective is to simplify the immigration system by reducing some of the 80 more esoteric paths to entry to the five tiers of entry under the Points Based System that hopefully will be easier to understand and administer.



 
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