Twenty Seventh Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Draft Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2022

44.This instrument makes the necessary changes to existing primary and secondary legislation in preparation for the commencement of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (“the 2020 Act”). The 2020 Act aims to reduce conflict in divorce, dissolution and separation proceedings by simplifying the process.

45.The 2020 Act has introduced a new option of a joint application for cases where the decision to divorce is a mutual one, in addition to retaining the current ability of one party to initiate the legal process of divorce. It has also updated the terminology used, for example replacing terms such as “decree nisi”, “decree absolute” and “petitioner” with “conditional order”, “final order” and “applicant”. This instrument will ensure those language changes are reflected across existing legislation.

Draft Waste and Agriculture (Legislative Functions) Regulations 2022

46.Following Brexit, this instrument, amongst other changes, proposes to transfer several technical powers and functions from the European Commission to the Secretary of State and the Devolved Administrations. These powers and functions relate to waste, including those covering end-of life vehicles, batteries and accumulators, and electrical and electronic equipment, as well as the overarching Waste Framework Directive.39 The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that the transfer will enable the UK and the Devolved Administrations to maintain their environmental standards on the safe handling of waste, levels of recovery, recycling and treatment of waste. Defra highlights that the functions are routine, and that in several cases the standards and requirements are already in place and working well, so the aim of transferring the powers is to enable changes in the future should it be necessary, rather than making any updates or changes now. Any regulations made under the new powers will be subject to the negative procedure.

47.The Explanatory Memorandum states that “provision is made for the Secretary of State and, where relevant, the Devolved Administrations, to consult relevant regulatory agencies and anyone else they consider appropriate before the exercise of these powers”. Asked whether these requirements to consult had in any way been weakened compared to the duties on the European Commission, Defra responded that:

“Briefly, we consider that consultation requirements are not being weakened in repatriating these powers. The duty on the Secretary of State to consult widely is at least as stringent as the previous duty on the Commission to do so, and, as it applies across all the powers in the SI rather than only on certain elements, is in fact more stringent than the previous requirements within the EU.”

We are publishing Defra’s full response and explanation at Appendix 2.

39 Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.

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