Fast-track Legislation: Constitutional Implications and Safeguards - Constitution Committee Contents


Memorandum by the Clerk of the Parliaments

INTRODUCTION

  1.  This memorandum responds to the Call for Evidence issued by the Committee on 29 January. The Clerk of the House of Commons has submitted a memorandum which deals in detail with the passage of emergency legislation through the Commons. This memorandum should be read in conjunction with the memorandum submitted by the Clerk of the House. It draws attention to differences of practice in the two Houses, but does not repeat material which applies equally to both.

  2.  This memorandum addresses both primary and secondary legislation.

EMERGENCY LEGISLATION—BILLS

Definition of emergency legislation

  3.  I agree with the Clerk of the House's description of the characteristics of emergency legislation and his analysis of why the need for expedited proceedings might arise. I note, however, that his memorandum focuses on those bills which have all their stages taken in one day in the Commons. In the House of Lords it is more common for such bills to be taken over two or three days so I would not wish to define emergency legislation in terms of the number of days taken to pass a bill.

  4.  In addition to this, I would regard as emergency legislation some bills which took more than one day in the Commons. For example, I provide in Annex A a breakdown of the timetable for the Commons' and Lords' proceedings on the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 which I consider to be a prime example of emergency legislation. The Act was required to be passed urgently in response to a judgment of the House of Lords,[10] but was subject to a large number of amendments in both Houses. Though its passage in the Commons was not completed in one day, the final consideration of amendments in both Houses entailed a rare all-night sitting in order for the Bill to be passed by a certain date.[11]

  5.  However, the list of bills provided by the Commons captures almost all of the bills which I would regard as emergency legislation and I agree with the Clerk of the House that if the final stages of a bill are truncated due to an imminent Dissolution of Parliament, that does not amount to emergency legislation as generally understood.

  6.  The Committee has asked for information regarding the late tabling of significant Government amendments to non-emergency bills. Such amendments may, in effect, amount to emergency legislation, particularly if tabled in the second House. The possibility that one House may not have sufficient opportunity for scrutiny may well arise, but such amendments do not generally raise any procedural or serious practical difficulties different to those arising in respect of the tabling of other non-emergency Government amendments.

  7.  I should also note at this point that there are no specific provisions in Lords' Standing Orders in relation to expediting the passage of Consolidated Fund Bills, consolidation bills, and Tax Law Rewrite Bills. Consolidated Fund Bills, and other bills of Aids and Supply, are unamendable by the Lords and are always passed quickly. Consolidation Bills and Tax Law Rewrite Bills are not subject to special procedures (apart from their scrutiny by Joint Committees) but are usually passed quickly. Such bills do not constitute emergency legislation.

Procedure and practice in the Chamber

  8.  It may be worth bearing in mind that, while legislation passes through essentially the same stages in the two Houses, there are some important differences in procedure and practice which apply to all public legislation, not just emergency legislation:

    — The Government has no formal control over parliamentary time in the Lords.

    — The House of Lords is self-regulating. The usual channels discuss matters of the timetabling of legislation, but cannot always determine in advance the amount of time which the House will spend on considering any bill.

    — There is no selection of amendments. All amendments tabled must be called by the chair and may be debated.

    — In relation to non-emergency bills in the Commons, Report and Third Reading are almost always taken on the same day; in the Lords, Report and Third Reading amendments are nearly always taken on separate days and amendments may be tabled and considered at Third Reading.

  9.  To a great extent, the procedures which apply in the House of Lords in respect of emergency bills are normal procedures which are followed more quickly. Nothing is omitted. Whether elements of the legislative process are curtailed is a subjective judgment, but in a self-regulating House it is difficult for procedures to be curtailed in the face of substantial opposition. The following paragraphs describe the variations from normal practice which may be involved in the passage of an emergency bill, but it must be emphasised that all of these variations are subject to the agreement of the usual channels, and to self-regulation (in other words, to the House as a whole).

  10.  Emergency bills are usually introduced in the House of Commons. In practice, this means that the Commons generally pass such bills fairly late in the parliamentary day, having spent most of that day considering the bill.

  11.  It is normal practice for all public bills to be printed for the Lords following their arrival from the Commons, although Standing Order 51 allows a bill to be printed in advance of its first reading "if it is for the convenience of this House".[12] In cases of particular urgency, the usual channels may agree that the bill should not be reprinted[13] and, in such a case, the Lords will consider the bill on the basis of the last Commons' print. However, if the bill is amended during the final stages of its passage through the Commons, it will have to be reprinted for the Lords.

  12.  It is unusual, though not impossible, for emergency legislation to pass all its Lords' stages in a single day.[14] This would require a high degree of consensus in the usual channels and in the House.

  13.  Lords' Standing Order 47 provides that no two stages of a bill may be taken on the same day, and there are also recommended minimum intervals between stages.[15] Where it is desired to take more than one stage on a day, a motion to suspend SO 47 (which requires notice) must be agreed to. Such a dispensation is likely when dealing with an emergency bill.

  14.  If the urgency is such that no notice can be given of a motion to dispense with SO 47, then the procedure laid down in Standing Order 88 is followed: SOs 47 and 88 are read at the Table by the Clerk of the Parliaments and a motion is moved that it is essential for reasons of national security that a bill or bills should immediately be proceeded with and that the provisions of SO 47 should be dispensed with to allow all stages to be taken. It should be noted that this procedure has not been used since 1972.[16]

  15.  In recent sessions, emergency bills have generally been given a First Reading on one day (following their arrival from the Commons), followed by Second Reading on a separate day, with Committee, Report and Third Reading being taken on a third day. Annex B provides some recent examples of emergency bills and demonstrates that timetables vary depending on the nature and urgency of the bill in question. The negotiation of the timetable is in practice a matter for the usual channels.

  16.  As in the Commons, constraints on time mean that emergency bills may receive less scrutiny than would otherwise be the case. However, Members of the Lords do have the advantage of being able to consider the bill before First Reading (while it is still before the Commons), so the time for preparation of amendments is somewhat longer.

  17.  Around half of all Government bills[17] in the House of Lords receive their Committee stage in a Committee of the Whole House. The recommendation on whether to take the Committee stage of a bill on the floor of the House or in Grand Committee is one for the usual channels, who make such recommendations on a case-by-case basis. However, any emergency legislation will invariably be taken in a Committee of the Whole House: partly because it may well be regarded as an important piece of legislation in which a number of Members will take an interest; partly because the possible lack of a substantive Report stage means that amendments must be capable of being divided on at Committee stage;[18] and partly because it is more difficult to timetable a Grand Committee at short notice.

Alternative procedure—No. 2 bills

  18.  The No. 2 bill procedure is occasionally used to pass a bill quickly. The procedure allows both Houses to consider a bill simultaneously, and this eliminates some of the possible delay caused by the observance of minimum intervals, particularly in the second House. The exact sequence of events varies from bill to bill, but it is usually along the following lines:

    — A bill is introduced in the Commons.

    — An identical bill (save for the addition of "No. 2" in the short title) is introduced in the Lords, either at the same time or shortly afterwards.

    — The Commons bill is read a second time, goes through its Committee stage and remaining stages and is sent to the Lords.

    — At some point before the Commons' bill leaves that House, the No. 2 bill receives a Second Reading in the Lords.

    — At the point at which the Lords receives the Commons' bill, the No. 2 bill is withdrawn, and the original bill then proceeds through its Committee and remaining stages in the Lords.

  19.  This procedure avoids the delay of up to a month which would occur if the Lords were to wait for the arrival of the Commons' bill, and if the minimum intervals between First Reading, Second Reading and Committee stage were then observed in the Lords.

  20.  The procedure has rarely been used in recent times. The most recent example was in connection with the Banking Bill which was passed earlier this session. This bill had to be enacted by a particular deadline (on which the emergency legislation passed in 2008[19] would expire), but the bill was not emergency legislation—it was not passed until almost three months after its arrival in the Lords. The No. 2 bill procedure has not, in recent times, been used for emergency legislation in the generally understood sense.

Committee scrutiny of bills

  21.  There are three select committees in the House of Lords which would normally expect to subject a bill to scrutiny: the Constitution Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) and the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC). I do not comment on any procedural or practical difficulties which may be faced by the Constitution Committee. The Clerk of the House has commented on the JCHR in his memorandum. I therefore restrict this part of the evidence to the DPRRC, although many of the general points made will be equally applicable to all three committees.

  22.  The DPRRC is usually able to meet and report on emergency bills at short notice. Close liaison between Committee staff and the Government's business managers is needed to facilitate this. For example, the Committee reported on the Banking (Special Provisions) Bill, even though the Bill was introduced and taken in the Commons on 19 February 2008, and in the Lords on 20 and 21 February. The Committee's report was made available on 20 February. Government amendments to meet some, though not all, of the Committee's concerns were tabled by the Government and agreed by the House the following day.[20]

  23.  The fact that the Committee is usually able to report on emergency bills does not, however, mean that such bills receive the same quality of scrutiny as bills which proceed on a normal basis. Inevitably the Committee's scrutiny is hurried, and the House and Ministers have less time to consider the Committee's recommendations and decide whether to adopt them. In the case of the Banking (Special Provisions) Bill, only two of the Committee's four recommendations were accepted, below the usual acceptance rate for non-emergency bills. This might be viewed as one of the ways in which emergency legislation can entail a trade-off between speed and the quality of scrutiny by the House and its committees.

Practical and logistical issues

  24.  The general comments made by the Clerk of the House in his memorandum concerning the pressures placed on services supporting Chamber sittings by emergency legislation also apply to the Lords and I do not comment further on them. This section focuses on specific aspects of the process for dealing with bills since practices in the Lords' Public Bill Office (PBO) differ in many respects from those in the Commons. It is assumed here that an emergency bill will be introduced in the Commons since this is invariably the case in practice.

  25.  The procedures which the Government follow for giving notice of all Government bills and for clearing procedural matters with the two PBOs (as described in the memorandum by the Clerk of the House) apply equally in the Lords and the Commons. Issues such as scope and hybridity are dealt with by both Houses prior to introduction in the first House so the Lords' PBO does not have longer to respond. I fully agree with the Clerk of the House that although the period of notice may be shorter, the usual pre-introduction procedures will apply: officials of both PBOs will of necessity prioritise emergency legislation and deal with the pre-introduction correspondence with the requisite degree of urgency.

  26.  Papers for the Commons' stages of a bill will be available to Members of the Lords a day or two before the bill arrives in this House. These papers include the bill, explanatory notes, the human rights statement and any amendments tabled to the bill in the Commons. In addition, Members of this House will be aware of any "informal final draft" of the bill which has been made available to the Commons.

  27.  When the bill arrives from the Commons it is printed, either following the formal first reading or pursuant to Standing Order 51.[21] In either case, it is available the following morning. The explanatory notes are printed to the same timetable.

  28.  In normal circumstances, amendments for Committee stage cannot be tabled until after Second Reading. However, for emergency bills, arrangements are often made (through the usual channels) to allow the PBO to receive and print amendments in advance of the Second Reading debate. Members will be informed in advance that this is possible.

  29.  If a Second Reading is on the same day as the Committee stage, a period of time will be arranged before the Committee stage begins, to allow for any final amendments to be tabled and printed. Where Second Reading and Committee stage are on the same day, the marshalled list will be a "manuscript" list—that is, one produced in typescript by the PBO and photocopied, rather than a list which is printed overnight by the Parliamentary Press. There is little difference in appearance.

  30.  If the Second Reading and Committee stages are on different days, a marshalled list of amendments will be printed and circulated either the morning before the Committee stage or on the morning on which that stage begins.

  31.  As with all public bills, when a marshalled list is available the Government Whips' Office finalises the grouping of amendments in consultation with those who have tabled amendments. The PBO prepares and circulates procedural briefings for the Chair and for the Minister. These do not differ from those produced for non-emergency bills.

  32.  It is also possible for manuscript amendments (that is, amendments tabled after the marshalled list has been produced and circulated) to be tabled. Such amendments will be distributed as soon as possible following receipt, and may require groupings and briefs to be amended and re-circulated. Again, this does not differ in procedure from non-emergency bills, but such amendments may be tabled at very short notice whereas with a non-emergency bill the PBO would normally discourage the tabling of manuscript amendments with less than a couple of hours' notice before the start of the day's sitting.[22]

  33.  Where two or more amendable stages of a bill take place on one day, the practical difficulties of tabling amendments between stages and producing the manuscript marshalled lists, groupings and briefs can become acute. In the Lords, additional complications may arise from the lack of any fixed timetable for any of the stages, and the possibility that amendments may be tabled and debated at three separate stages.[23]

  34.  If a bill is amended in the Lords, the amendments have to be considered by the Commons, and both Houses have to agree on every word of the bill before it can receive Royal Assent. This process is commonly known as "ping-pong". The procedures followed are the same as for a non-emergency bill, but they can, if necessary, be carried out at high speed. When each House has finished considering the other House's amendments it has to record its decisions and transmit them to the other House. When a message is received in either House, a paper has to be circulated showing the other House's propositions, and time has then to be allowed for counter-proposals (if any) to be formulated, tabled and circulated. Briefs then have to be prepared by the PBO before the next stage can take place on the floor. On occasions, prolonged ping-pong has occurred, the most notable recent example being the 36-hour sitting of both Houses to reconcile differences of view on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill in 2005, where each House considered the bill on five occasions following Third Reading in the Lords.[24] Such proceedings are exceptional.

EMERGENCY LEGISLATION—STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS

  35.  This section of the memorandum gives technical information about the different kinds of parliamentary control over statutory instruments, and the role of the scrutiny committees. If the Committee wishes to seek views on the relative merits of the various procedures, it may be helpful to take evidence directly from these committees.

  36.  The different kinds of enabling provisions used in primary legislation are well explained elsewhere.[25] In summary, the main categories of parliamentary control over statutory instruments are:

    — no formal procedure (instrument laid before Parliament but not subject to negative or affirmative procedure);

    — negative procedure;[26]

    — "draft" affirmative procedure;

    — "made" affirmative procedure.

  37.  There is no definition of an emergency statutory instrument and I do not attempt to provide one, save to note that a statutory instrument may be considered as emergency legislation in much the same way as a bill: for example, because it is a response to previously unforeseen events.

Choice of instrument in the parent Act

  38.  The draft affirmative procedure is normally applied for significant powers as it gives the greatest degree of Parliamentary control over an instrument. If it is envisaged that an important power may need to be exercised urgently the made affirmative procedure is often employed by the parent Act. The next section of this memorandum therefore considers made affirmative instruments. The more common negative procedure also allows instruments to be made and come into force quickly, whether or not that was envisaged at the time the Act which conferred the power was passed. This memorandum therefore also considers negative instruments. The role of the scrutiny committees is set out; and information is provided on hybrid instruments, the process for debating instruments, and the impact of recesses.

Made affirmative instruments

  39.  The made affirmative procedure is often used in Acts where the intention is to allow significant powers to be exercised quickly. The Report of the Joint Committee on Delegated Legislation in 1973 stated that the made affirmative procedure should "only be used where, in addition to requiring immediate effect, the subject matter substantially affects the provisions of an Act, makes financial provision, or involves other considerations of special importance."[27]

  40.  Sometimes, the parent Act specifies that the made affirmative procedure will apply whenever the power is exercised.[28] In other cases, the Act may provide for either the draft affirmative or the made affirmative procedure to be used. In the Terrorism Act 2000 the default position for several powers is the draft affirmative procedure, but the made affirmative procedure can be employed "if the Secretary of State is of the opinion that it is necessary by reason of urgency".[29]

  41.  The Banking Act 2009 contains a large number of delegated powers which the Government envisaged might need to be exercised quickly in the first instance. Accordingly, section 255 provides that instruments under various powers contained in the Act shall be subject to the draft affirmative procedure, unless "the power is exercised for the first time, and the person exercising it is satisfied that it is necessary to exercise it without laying a draft …".[30] This applies, for example, to the wide-ranging power in section 75 to amend the law to enable the powers under Part 1 of the Bill (special resolution regime) to be exercised effectively.

  42.  A list of statutory instruments already made under the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Banking Act 2009 can be provided. Other examples of made affirmatives include:

    — Civil Procedure (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules 2008 (SI 2008/3085) to provide for financial restrictions proceedings, made under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.

    — Civil Procedure (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules 2005 (SI 2005/656) to provide for control order proceedings, made under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.

    — the large number of Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) Orders made under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985.

  43.  The Committee may also wish to examine the special form of the made affirmative procedure set out in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. This power has not yet been exercised so there is no experience of how it works in practice, although it is worth noting that the Act is one of the few which makes provision for the amendment by Parliament of delegated legislation.[31]

Negative instruments

  44.  It is a convention that negative instruments should not come into force less than 21 days after laying before Parliament. Both the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments (JCSI) and the House of Lords' Merits Committee monitor the Government's adherence to this convention.[32]

  45.  There are often understandable explanations when the Government breach this convention. One such example might be the Protection of Wrecks (Designation) (England) (No. 7) Order 2006 (SI 2006/2535) which came into force quickly in order to avoid a recently uncovered wreck from being looted. Lapses may, however, simply be because the timetable for a particular policy has slipped and a statutory instrument must be passed in a hurry.[33]

  46.  Section 4 of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 provides that "if it is essential" instruments which may be made before being laid before Parliament (these are usually negative instruments, but also include made affirmatives), can come into effect before they are laid. In such a case a notification must be sent to the Speakers of both Houses giving reasons. The JCSI reports to the House any unjustifiable delay in making this notification.[34]

Committee scrutiny

Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments

  47.  The JCSI provides technical and legal scrutiny of all statutory instruments within its terms of reference.[35] Although the Committee is influential and the Government usually accept its recommendations, the Committee does not have any formal powers over instruments, and reports are made to both Houses for their consideration. In the Lords, Standing Order 73 provides that an affirmative instrument may not be approved by the House until the JCSI has reported on it. This provides Members with an assurance that the technical and legal aspects of an affirmative instrument will have received expert scrutiny before the House is invited to approve it.

  48.  The Committee will usually consider a draft affirmative instrument between seven and 20 days after it has been laid before Parliament. However, Ministers sometimes write to the Committee to request that an instrument be expedited (sometimes owing to genuine urgency; at other times seemingly more for administrative convenience). The degree of prior liaison with the Committee's advisers is important, and not all such requests are agreed. Taking statutory instruments at short notice inevitably means that other work is disrupted.

  49.  A recent example of expedited consideration is the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Parliament and National Assembly for Wales) Order 2008 (SI2008/1967). This draft affirmative was laid on 15 July 2008 and considered by the JCSI later that day.[36]

  50. The Government can propose that SO 73 be dispensed with, allowing an approval motion to be moved very shortly after the instrument has been laid, but denying the House the measure of assurance provided by the JCSI. Since 1990 SO 73[37] has been dispensed with three times in respect of specified instruments.[38] In addition, in July 1999 the Leader of the House twice moved a general motion to dispense with the Standing Order in respect of any affirmatives relating to Northern Ireland which might be laid on specified days.[39] The Committee may be interested to note the Leader's comments in moving the first of those motions, on 1 July:

    "I should like, if I may, to take this opportunity to emphasise again that the Government take very seriously the work of the Joint Committee. It is only in the most exceptional circumstances that we move to suspend the Standing Order."[40]

Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee

  51.  As its title suggests, the Lords' Merits Committee considers the merits of instruments within its terms of reference.[41] As with the JCSI, the Committee has no formal powers over instruments, and reports are made to the House for its consideration. Unlike the JCSI, the Merits Committee has no formal scrutiny reserve, although efforts are usually made to give the Committee the opportunity to consider statutory instruments before they are considered by the House, even if this means the Committee takes less than the usual 12 to 15 days between laying and reporting. Such rapid scrutiny relies in part on effective informal liaison between the Government Whips' Office and the Merits Committee staff.

  52.  One example is the Enterprise Act 2002 (Specification of Additional Section 58 Consideration) Order 2008[42] which was laid before Parliament on 7 October 2008, considered by the Merits Committee on 14 October[43] and considered in the House of Lords on 16 October, on the same day that the Committee's report was published.

  53.  There have been recent examples of instruments being laid and then withdrawn and relaid because of defective drafting. This may be a response to a perceived need by Government to lay an instrument quickly, before the drafting has been finalised. This issue was recently considered by the Merits Committee:

    "Disappointingly, we continue to find that Departments need to check instruments more carefully before laying them. This is clearly shown by the number of corrections or redrafts that have been laid. Chart 1 indicates that 3.5 % of negative instruments were corrected, slightly up on last session (2.5 %). Affirmative SIs do not appear in the table as they are laid in draft and can be withdrawn and re-laid up until the debate is held: this facility appears to have been exploited rather more than usual this session. We have also seen a number of SIs which correct or withdraw legislation a day or two before it is due to take effect because Departmental plans have gone awry (eg SI 2007/3149, SI 2008/2677 both of which were urgent amendments to correct a misunderstanding about instructions between the policy official and the drafting solicitor). Such last-minute changes cause confusion in the law and should have been picked up in the clearance process before the original instrument left the Department."[44]

Hybrid instruments

  54.  If an instrument is deemed to be hybrid, the Lords' procedures relating to it can cause considerable delay.[45] There are no equivalent procedures in the House of Commons and a de-hybridising provision may be included in the parent Act to disapply the Lords' procedures.[46] This is particularly relevant for powers which the Government anticipates needing to exercise quickly, and where it is possible that the hybrid instruments procedure would otherwise be engaged.[47] The DPRRC has invited the House to consider whether the hybrid instruments procedure remains of use.[48]

Procedure for debating instruments

  55.  In the Lords, both affirmative and negative instruments may be debated in either the Chamber or in Grand Committee, but decisions are reserved to the Chamber. There are no procedural grounds for choosing one or the other, though the usual channels often agree that more significant instruments should be debated in the Chamber rather than Grand Committee. Debating instruments in Grand Committee can take longer than the Chamber route, because each instrument must be referred to Grand Committee by a motion in the Chamber and, after it has been debated, must be approved by a motion in the Chamber.[49] Such motions are usually taken formally, but they can be (and occasionally are) debated, even though there has already been a debate on the instrument in Grand Committee. As a consequence of these considerations, emergency statutory instruments are likely to be debated in the Chamber.

Instruments laid during recesses

  56.  If the House is in recess for more than four days, the periods specified in relation to negative and made affirmative instruments (ie. the 40 days for which a negative instrument must lie before both Houses, and the specified period within which a made affirmative instrument must be approved) are suspended. Thus if a negative or made affirmative statutory instrument is laid at the start of a recess it can come into force and remain in force for a substantial period of time before it can be considered by either House. This may mean that the two Houses cannot scrutinise an instrument fully, particularly during the long Summer Recess. This is the case whether or not the instrument in question is laid in response to an urgent situation and, as such, would be considered emergency legislation.

  57.  A draft affirmative instrument may not be laid when the House is not sitting (and the relevant scrutiny committees do not usually meet in a recess). When the House returns, the committees would scrutinise the instrument in the usual way, and either House could refuse to approve an instrument if it so chose.

March 2009



10   A v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] UKHL 56. Back

11   Saturday 12 March 2005. Back

12   A recent example was the Banking (Special Provisions) Bill, printed under SO 51 on 19 February 2008 (see Annex B). Back

13   This is rare, but a recent example was the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) (No. 2) Bill which went through both Houses on 27 March 2007. Back

14   For example, the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) (No. 2) Bill. Back

15   Companion to the Standing Orders, House of Lords, 2007, paragraph 7.03: "The following minimum intervals between stages of public bills should be observed: (a) two weekends between the first reading (whether of a new bill or one brought from the Commons) and the debate on second reading; (b) fourteen days between second reading and the start of the committee stage; (c) on all bills of considerable length and complexity, fourteen days between the end of the committee stage and the start of the report stage; (d) three sitting days between the end of the report stage and third reading." Back

16   The procedure is contained in a proviso to SO 88 which was recommended by the Procedure Committee (3rd Report, 1971-72) and agreed to by the House on 20 January 1972. The proviso was a means of formalising what had been known as the "Supreme Emergency Procedure" which was to be found only in the Companion. This procedure had been used on a number of occasions between 1866 and 1939. Since its formalisation, the procedure has only been used once: on 23 February 1972 in relation to the Northern Ireland Bill. Back

17   Private Members' Bills are almost always taken in a Committee of the Whole House because debates on them are unlikely to be lengthy; only one bill per day may be considered in Grand Committee-Companion to the Standing Orders, House of Lords, 2007, paragraph 7.98. Back

18   Divisions are not possible in Grand Committee-Companion to the Standing Orders, House of Lords, 2007, paragraph 7.98. Back

19   Banking (Special Provisions) Act 2008. Back

20   See Annex B for details of the proceedings on the Bill. Back

21   A bill brought from the Commons after the House of Lords has risen will be printed under SO 51 and receive its First Reading the next day. Back

22   Or, on a Thursday or Friday, before the start of that day's proceedings on the bill in question. Back

23   Manuscript amendments are not permitted at Third Reading stage unless SO 49 has been dispensed with. Therefore, if Third Reading takes place on the same day as Report stage no amendments may be tabled at the final stage-this is commonly the case in respect of emergency bills. Back

24   See the timetable for the Prevention of Terrorism Bill given in Annex A. Back

25   See Companion to the Standing Orders, House of Lords, 2007, paragraph 9.07. Back

26   This is the most common procedure for statutory instruments laid before Parliament. Back

27   1st Report , 1972-73, para 47. Back

28   For example, ss 555(2) and 1291 of the Companies Act 2006. Back

29   Section 123. Back

30   Subsection (4). Back

31   Section 27(3). Back

32   See, for example, 17th Report of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 2006-07, on SI 2007/882 and SR 2007/130; 43rd Report of the Merits Committee, 2005-06 (correspondence between the Committee and Lord Rooker, Minister of State, DEFRA). Back

33   For example, the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (Data Sharing Code of Practice) Order 2007 (SI 2007/3427). Back

34   For example, 26th Report of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 2006-07, in respect of SI 2007/1947. Back

35   The role of the JCSI is to assess the technical qualities of statutory instruments (including those not laid before Parliament, but not including local instruments or those made by the devolved assemblies, unless laid before Parliament) and to decide whether to draw the special attention of each House to any instrument on any ground other than the merits of the instrument or the policy behind it. (The precise terms of reference can be found at the beginning of each report.) Back

36   See also, 4th Report of the Merits Committee, 2008-09. Back

37   Previously SO 70. Back

38   29 July 1998 in respect of the draft Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 (Specified Organisations) Order 1998; 24 June 1999 in respect of the draft Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 (Revival of Parts IVA and IVB) Order 1999; and 13 June 2005 in respect of a Direction given by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 regarding Reduction of Financial Assistance. Back

39   On 1 and 14 July 1999. Back

40   HL Deb, 1 July 1999, col. 436. Back

41   The Merits Committee considers instruments with a view to determining whether or not the special attention of the House should be drawn to particular instruments on any of the following grounds: (a) that it is politically or legally important or gives rise to issues of public policy likely to be of interest to the House; (b) that it may be inappropriate in view of changed circumstances since the enactment of the parent Act; (c) that it may inappropriately implement European legislation; (d) that it may imperfectly achieve its policy objectives. Back

42   SI 2008/2645. Back

43   29th Report, 2007-08. Back

44   34th Report, 2007-08, paragraph 4. Back

45   See Companion to the Standing Orders, House of Lords, 2007, paragraphs 9.36-9.43. Back

46   See, for example, the Local Transport Bill, and the comments of the DPRRC in its 14th Report, 2007-08. Back

47   For example, s 259(2) of the Banking (Special Provisions) Act 2008. Back

48   29th Report, 1998-99, paragraphs 49-52. Back

49   Companion to the Standing Orders, House of Lords, 2007, paragraphs 9.15-9.16. Back


 
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