- Draft Health and Care Professions (Public Health Specialists); Draft Selective Licensing of Houses (Additional Conditions); Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England); Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) - Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee Contents

Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (formerly Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee)

Historical Note

In January 2000, the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords said that there was a good case for enhanced Parliamentary scrutiny of secondary legislation and recommended establishing a "sifting" mechanism to identify those statutory instruments which merited further debate or consideration. The Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee was set up on 17 December 2003. At the start of the 2012-3 Session the Committee was renamed to reflect the widening of its responsibilities to include the scrutiny of Orders laid under the Public Bodies Act 2011.

The Committee has the following terms of reference:

(1) The Committee shall, with the exception of those instruments in paragraphs (3) and (4), scrutinise—

(a) every instrument (whether or not a statutory instrument), or draft of an instrument, which is laid before each House of Parliament and upon which proceedings may be, or might have been, taken in either House of Parliament under an Act of Parliament;

(b) every proposal which is in the form of a draft of such an instrument and is laid before each House of Parliament under an Act of Parliament,

with a view to determining whether or not the special attention of the House should be drawn to it on any of the grounds specified in paragraph (2).

(2) The grounds on which an instrument, draft or proposal may be drawn to the special attention of the House are—

(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 Union legislation;

(d) that it may imperfectly achieve its policy objectives;

(e) that the explanatory material laid in support provides insufficient information to gain a clear understanding about the instrument's policy objective and intended implementation;

(f) that there appear to be inadequacies in the consultation process which relates to the instrument.

(3) The exceptions are—

(a) remedial orders, and draft remedial orders, under section 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998;

(b) draft orders under sections 14 and 18 of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, and subordinate provisions orders made or proposed to be made under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001;

(c) Measures under the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 and instruments made, and drafts of instruments to be made, under them.

(4) The Committee shall report on draft orders and documents laid before Parliament under section 11(1) of the Public Bodies Act 2011 in accordance with the procedures set out in sections 11(5) and (6). The Committee may also consider and report on any material changes in a draft order laid under section 11(8) of the Act.

(5) The Committee shall also consider such other general matters relating to the effective scrutiny of secondary legislation and arising from the performance of its functions under paragraphs (1) to (4) as the Committee considers appropriate, except matters within the orders of reference of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.


Baroness Andrews      Lord Eames        Baroness Stern

Lord Bichard      Rt Hon. Lord Goodlad (Chairman)  Lord Plant of Highfield

Lord Borwick      Baroness Hamwee      Lord Woolmer of Leeds

Lord Bowness      Baroness Humphreys

Registered interests

Information about interests of Committee Members can be found in Appendix 4.


The Committee's Reports are published on the internet at www.parliament.uk/seclegpublications

Information and Contacts

If you have a query about the Committee's work, or opinions on any new item of secondary legislation, please contact the Clerk of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, Legislation Office, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW; telephone 020-7219 8821; fax 020-7219 2571; email hlseclegscrutiny@parliament.uk.

Statutory instruments

The National Archives publishes statutory instruments on the internet at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/,together with a plain English explanatory memorandum.

contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2015