44th Report, 2015 (Session 4): Subordinate Legislation

SP Paper 776 (Web)

Contents

Introduction
Points raised: instruments subject to negative procedure

Wester Ross Marine Conservation Order 2015 (SSI 2015/302) (Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment)

Points raised: instruments not subject to any parliamentary procedure

Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 Amendment) (No. 4) (Sheriff Appeal Court) 2015 (SSI 2015/245) (Justice Committee)

No points raised
Annexe A
Annexe B

Remit and membership

Remit:

1. The remit of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee is to consider and report on—

(a) any—

(i) subordinate legislation laid before the Parliament or requiring the consent of the Parliament under section 9 of the Public Bodies Act 2011;

(ii) [deleted]

(iii) pension or grants motion as described in Rule 8.11A.1; and, in particular, to determine whether the attention of the Parliament should be drawn to any of the matters mentioned in Rule 10.3.1;

(b) proposed powers to make subordinate legislation in particular Bills or other proposed legislation;

(c) general questions relating to powers to make subordinate legislation;

(d) whether any proposed delegated powers in particular Bills or other legislation should be expressed as a power to make subordinate legislation;

(e) any failure to lay an instrument in accordance with section 28(2), 30(2) or 31 of the 2010 Act; and

(f) proposed changes to the procedure to which subordinate legislation laid before the Parliament is subject.

(g) any Scottish Law Commission Bill as defined in Rule 9.17A.1; and

(h) any draft proposal for a Scottish Law Commission Bill as defined in that Rule.

Membership:

Nigel Don (Convener)
John Mason (Deputy Convener)
Margaret McCulloch
John Scott
Stewart Stevenson

Introduction

1. At its meeting on 1 September 2015, the Committee agreed to draw the attention of the Parliament to the following instruments—

Wester Ross Marine Conservation Order 2015 (SSI 2015/302);

Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 Amendment) (No. 4) (Sheriff Appeal Court) 2015 (SSI 2015/245).

2. The Committee’s recommendations in relation to the above instruments are set out below.

3. The Committee determined that it did not need to draw the Parliament’s attention to the instruments which are set out at the end of this report.

Points raised: instruments subject to negative procedure

Wester Ross Marine Conservation Order 2015 (SSI 2015/302) (Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment)

4. The Order prohibits any person from any deployment or use of a dredge (including mechanical or suction dredging) from taking place in the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area (MPA). Further, while a fishing vessel is within the protected area, the master of the vessel must ensure that any dredge on the vessel is properly lashed and stowed, so that it may not be readily used. The Order was laid before Parliament on 17 August 2015 and came into force on 18 August 2015. It remains in force for 12 months from the 18 August.

5. The Scottish Government has provided a letter to the Presiding Officer, to explain the failure to comply with the “28 day rule” between laying an order and its coming into force date (as set out in section 28(2) of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010). The correspondence is reproduced at Annexe A. The breach of the rule does not affect the validity of the instrument.

6. The Committee accepts the Scottish Government’s explanation (as set out in the correspondence) as to why the “28 day rule” was breached.

7. The Committee draws this instrument to the Parliament’s attention on reporting ground (j), as there has been a failure to observe the requirements of section 28(2) of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.

8. The instrument was laid before the Parliament on 17 August and came into force on 18 August 2015, meaning that the requirement to leave a minimum of 28 days (discounting recess periods) between laying and coming into force has not been complied with.

Points raised: instruments not subject to any parliamentary procedure

Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 Amendment) (No. 4) (Sheriff Appeal Court) 2015 (SSI 2015/245) (Justice Committee)

9. This instrument amends the Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules) 1996 (“the Criminal Procedure Rules”), in consequence of the establishment of the Sheriff Appeal Court by the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”). The instrument comes into force on 22 September 2015. However, the Rules as they applied immediately before 22 September 2015 continue to apply to various proceedings in the High Court of Justiciary which started before the 22 September 2015.

10. In considering the instrument, the Committee queried a number of drafting points with the Lord President’s Private Office. The correspondence is reproduced at Annexe B. The instrument contains some minor drafting errors, which are corrected by the Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 and Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 Amendment) (No. 4) (Sheriff Appeal Court) 2015 Amendment) (Miscellaneous) 2015 (SSI 2015/295). The errors are explained in the following paragraph.

11. The Committee draws this instrument to the attention of the Parliament on the general reporting ground, as it contains some minor drafting errors:

(1) In paragraph 2(9), the references in the substituted rule 19.11(1)(a) and (b) of the Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 to sections 179(9) and 187(9)(a) should be followed by the words “of the Act of 1995”.

(2) In paragraph 3, in the inserted rule 19E.4(1), the reference to section 194ZF(2)(a) should be followed by the words “of the Act of 1995”.

(3) In paragraph 5(23)(b), the reference to paragraph 4 of Form 38 should refer instead to paragraph 5.

(4) In the Form 19E.2 which is inserted by the Schedule, the reference to rule 19E.2(4) should refer instead to rule 19E.2(5).

12. The Lord President’s Private Office has subsequently laid an instrument (SSI 2015/295) to correct the errors, timeously for this instrument coming into force on 22 September 2015.

No points raised

14. At its meeting on 1 September 2015, the Committee considered the following instruments. The Committee determined that it did not need to draw the attention of the Parliament to any of the instruments on any grounds within its remit:

Devolution (Further Powers) Committee

Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Schedules 4 and 5) Order 2015 [draft].

Education and Culture Committee

Queen Margaret University Edinburgh (Scotland) Amendment Order of Council 2015 (SSI 2015/305).

Health and Sport Committee

Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Integration Joint Board Establishment) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Order 2015 (SSI 2015/266).

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee

Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitional Provision) Order 2015 (SSI 2015/272 (C.36)).

Justice Committee

Adults with Incapacity (Public Guardian’s Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (SSI 2015/260);

Court of Session etc. Fees Order 2015 (SSI 2015/261);

High Court of Justiciary Fees Order 2015 (SSI 2015/262);

Justice of the Peace Court Fees (Scotland) Order 2015 (SSI 2015/263);

Sheriff Court Fees Order 2015 (SSI 2015/264);

Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 and Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 Amendment) (No. 4) (Sheriff Appeal Court) 2015 Amendment) (Miscellaneous) 2015 (SSI 2015/295);

Act of Sederunt (Ordinary Cause Rules 1993 Amendment and Miscellaneous Amendments) 2015 (SSI 2015/296).

Local Government and Regeneration Committee

Town and Country Planning (Hazardous Substances Inquiry Session Procedure) (Scotland) Amendment Rules 2015 (SSI 2015/250).

Parliament

Scottish Parliament (Disqualification) Order 2015 [draft].

Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee

South Arran Marine Conservation Order 2014 (Urgent Continuation) Order 2015 (SSI 2015/303).

Annexe A

Wester Ross Marine Conservation Order 2015 (SSI 2015/302)

Breach of laying requirements: letter to Presiding Officer

The Wester Ross Marine Conservation Order 2015 has been laid before the Scottish Parliament today, and will come into force tomorrow 18 August 2015. As a consequence of this action it has not been possible to follow Section 28(2) of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (asp 10) on this occasion, in order to remove the risk of further potential impacts on the maerl bed habitat as soon as possible.

In accordance with section 31(3) of that Act this letter explains why.

Reasons for non compliance

The Wester Ross marine protected area (“MPA”) was designated on 23 July 2014 using the powers in sections 67(1)(a), 68, 69 and 79(1) of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (“the Act”). Under section 3 of the Act when exercising any function under the Act that affects the Scottish marine area the Scottish Ministers and public authorities must act in the way best calculated to further the achievement of sustainable development, including the protection and, where appropriate, enhancement of the health of the area. Scottish Ministers consider that this Marine Conservation Order, made on an urgent basis, is necessary to further the conservation objectives of the Wester Ross MPA, in particular the recovery of the maerl beds protected feature.

Upon designation of the Wester Ross MPA a voluntary management arrangement for the MPA was implemented by the Scottish fishing industry. The purpose was to protect the maerl bed habitat, which is particularly vulnerable to fishing impacts, as an interim arrangement until such time long-term statutory measures are implemented.

It has come to the attention of the Scottish Government that the voluntary arrangement has recently been breached. Therefore, this Order is being made to prohibit and regulate fishing by dredging methods which may have a negative impact upon the maerl bed habitat, on a statutory basis, and is to come into force without delay.

This is of an urgent nature as scientific studies have shown that mobile fishing gears, such as scallop dredging, can destroy significant proportions of this habitat type with just one pass. Maerl beds are particularly vulnerable to physical disturbance and is very slow growing. Recovery from impact from mobile fishing gear could take centuries.

Where the Scottish Ministers consider that there is an urgent need to protect an area in respect of which a marine conservation order may be made then section 88 of the Act allows the Ministers to make a Marine Conservation Order on an urgent basis. In such cases the procedure set down for prior consultation under section 87 of the Act does not apply. Orders made under section 88 of the Act are subject to negative parliamentary procedure. The Act allows such Orders to come into force without delay.

As the act of fishing presents a significant risk of the conservation objective in respect of maerl beds not being achieved there is a legal duty on the Scottish Ministers to intervene. Therefore the procedure at Section 28(2) of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (asp 10) is not being followed on this occasion. This is to remove the risk of further impacts on the maerl bed habitat as soon as possible.

We will endeavour to follow the procedure at Section 28(2) for other MPA management proposals.

Annexe B

Act of Adjournal (Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 Amendment) (No. 4) (Sheriff Appeal Court) 2015 (SSI 2015/245)

On 15 June 2015 the Lord President’s Private Office was asked:

1. Generally speaking, where a section is referred to in this instrument, it is specified that it is a section of “the Act of 1995” (but the instrument does not refer exclusively to sections of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995). It appears that neither this instrument nor the Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 contain an interpretation provision to the effect that where a section is referred to, then unless the context otherwise requires it is assumed that a section of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 is being referred to.

Within paragraph 2 of the instrument, the new rule 19.11(1)(a) and (b) of the Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 refers to sections, without further specification that they are sections “of the Act of 1995”. Within paragraph 3, the following new rules also refer to particular sections, without further specification that they are sections “of the Act of 1995”:

New rules 19D.5(2), 19E.1(2), 19E.3(1) (third line), 19E.3(1)(e), 19E.3(2) and (3), 19E.4(1).

Is this discrepancy in the various references to sections an omission, or would the provisions be clearer if a uniform approach was taken to referring to sections of “the Act of 1995”?

2. In paragraph 5(23)(b), should the insertion of “[or the prosecutor]” be made in paragraph 5 of Form 38 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 rather than paragraph 4?

3. In Form 19E.2 of the Schedule (Form of extension of time by the President of the Sheriff Appeal Court), is there an error as the form refers to the powers conferred on the President by rule 19E.2(4) of the Criminal Procedure Rules 1996, but the power of extension is contained in new rule 19E.2(5), on page 7 of the instrument?

4. Is it proposed to take corrective action on the above matters?

The Lord President’s Private Office responded as follows:

Question 1

We agree that neither the Criminal Procedure Rules 1996 (“the principal Rules”) nor this instrument contain a general provision specifying that where a section is referred to then it is a section of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (“the 1995 Act”) unless the context otherwise requires. Rule 1.2(2) contains such a provision for internal references within the Rules, but in our view this is not in accordance with modern drafting practice and is more a reflection of prevailing practice when the principal Rules were drafted.

The principal Rules are now nearly 20 years old, and they have been amended frequently during that period. Inevitably, there are stylistic differences to be found depending on when provisions of the principal Rules were inserted or amended, and so we think it would be extremely difficult to ensure that the approach adopted is uniform throughout the instrument. There are other examples where uniformity of approach has given way to modern drafting practice – for example, new Chapters 19D and 19E have been drafted in a gender neutral way, although the principal Rules themselves are not gender neutral.

That being said, we accept that where we have amended an existing rule, e.g. by substituting a new rule 19.11, then it might have been desirable to ensure consistency with the approach taken in the rest of Chapter 19, i.e. the references to “the Act of 1995” should have been included immediately after the sections.

However, we think that the newly-inserted Chapters are in a slightly different position. Chapter 19D exists solely to provide a procedure for references made under section 175A of the 1995 Act. Accordingly, rule 19D.1 defines “reference” as a reference made by the Sheriff Appeal Court to the High Court for its opinion on a point of law under section 175A(1) of the Act of 1995. Given that rule 19D.5(2) contains the defined term “reference”, we think it is reasonably clear that the reference to section 175A(3) must be to that section in the 1995 Act. If the text of the definition is substituted for the word “reference” then we do not consider that any doubt could arise in the mind of the reader. Accordingly, this was a stylistic decision rather than an omission, and we tend to think that inserting “of the Act of 1995” would simply make the provision more ornate than it needs to be. We do not consider that it would improve the clarity of rule 19D.5(2).

As far as Chapter 19E is concerned, we would make the following observations:

rule 19E.1(2): in this case, the full reference “section 194ZC(1) of the Act of 1995” is used in paragraph (1). We accordingly consider that it is appropriate (and in accordance with modern drafting practice) to use the shorthand reference “section 194ZC(1)” in the following paragraph. We do not think that any reasonable doubt arises as to the meaning of that paragraph when the rule is construed as a whole.

rules 19E.3(1) and 19E.3(1)(e): again, the full reference is used on the first occasion and a shorthand one is used on the second occasion. We think, if anything, that the position is stronger here as it is part of the same sentence – we note that no exception appears to have been taken to the same approach in rule 19E.2(1).

rules 19E.3(2) and (3): again, we take the view that there can be no reasonable doubt as to what is intended here. There are no intervening references to any other enactment and when the rule is construed as a whole we think it is clear what is intended.

rule 19E.4(1): we accept that this rule has been drafted inconsistently with the other rules in the Chapter (where the approach has been to use the full reference on the first occasion that a section of the 1995 Act is encountered). We do not think that the reader is likely to be misled by the provision, but we consider that it would be desirable for it to be consistent with the rest of the Chapter.

Question 2

We are grateful to the DPLRC and its legal advisers for identifying this cross-referencing error. The reference should be to paragraph 5 of Form 38, as suggested.

Question 3

Again, we are grateful that this cross-referencing error has been identified. The references to rule 19E.2(4) should instead be to rule 19E.2(5), as suggested.

Question 4

Standing the responses to the questions 1 to 3, we propose to make the following corrections by amending instrument before this instrument comes into force:

in paragraph 2(9), we will amend the references in substituted rule 19.11(1)(a) and (b) so that the references to sections 179(9) and 187(9)(a) are followed by the words “of the Act of 1995”;

in paragraph 3, we will amend inserted rule 19E.4(1) so that the reference to section 194ZF(2)(a) is followed by the words “of the Act of 1995”;

in paragraph 5(23)(b), we will correct the reference so it is to paragraph 5 instead of paragraph 4 of Form 38;

in new Form 19E.2, we will correct the references to rule 19E.2(4) so that they refer instead to rule 19E.2(5)


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