Northern Ireland Assembly Flax Flower Logo

Session 2007/2008

Ninth Report

Report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules


the Assembly


the Appropriate Committees


1 February 2008


Committee for Employment and Learning

Draft statutory rule: The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2008

Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment

S.R. 2008 No. 3

Committee for the Environment

S.R. 2008 Nos. 19, 20

Committee for Finance and Personnel

S.R. 2008 No. 15

Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety

S.R. 2007 No. 506

Committee for Regional Development

S.R. 2008 Nos. 12, 13

Committee for Social Development

S.R. 2008 No. 16

NIA 94/07-08

1. In accordance with the delegations in respect of the technical scrutiny of statutory rules under Standing Order 41(4)(b) given to the Examiner of Statutory Rules by the appropriate Committees on 11, 16, 17 and 18 May 2007, I submit my report on the statutory rules listed in the Appendix.

2. My terms of reference are essentially set out in Standing Order 41(6) (taken with the delegations under Standing Order 41(4)(b)) are as follows:

“( 6) In scrutinising an instrument the appropriate Committee shall inter alia consider the instrument with a view to determining and reporting on whether it requires to be drawn to the special attention of the Assembly on any of the following grounds, namely, that –

(a) it imposes a charge on the public revenues or prescribes the amount of any such charge;

(b) it contains provisions requiring any payment to be made to any Northern Ireland department or public body in respect of any approval, authorisation, licence or consent or of any service provided or to be provided by that department or body or prescribes the amount of any such payment;

(c) the parent legislation excludes it from challenge in the courts;

(d) it purports to have retrospective effect where the parent legislation confers no express authority so to provide;

(e) there appears to have been unjustifiable delay in the publication of it or in the laying of it before the Assembly;

(f) there appears to be a doubt whether it is intra vires or it appears to make some unusual or unexpected use of the powers conferred by the parent legislation;

(g) it calls for elucidation;

(h) it appears to have defects in its drafting;

or on any other ground which does not impinge on its merits or the policy behind it.”.

Statutory rules to which attention is drawn in this report

The Deposits in the Sea (Exemptions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008/20)

3. I draw the attention of the Committee for the Environment and the Assembly to the Deposits in the Sea (Exemptions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008/ 20) on the ground that it was laid in breach of the 21-day rule (that is to say, the long-established rule of practice whereby a Department should, in the case of a statutory rule that is subject to negative resolution, allow at least 21 days between the laying of the statutory rule and its coming into operation):

in this case the Order was made on 18 January 2008, was laid on 24 January 2008, and came into operation 8 February 2008. The Department has explained to me that it (wrongly) thought that it should wait for the printed copies before laying the Order. On looking at the dates, I have to say that the Department should perhaps have allowed a little more time between making and coming into operation and not a bare 21 days. But this Order merely corrects an error made by a previous statutory rule (S.R. 2007/51, made in January 2007), which it replaces and revokes: the previous statutory rule was purportedly made in the form of Regulations whereas, in accordance with the parent legislation, it should have been made in the form of an Order; and I drew this attention to the Department on an earlier occasion. It occurs to me in passing that when correcting a statutory rule in this way Departments should so state in an italic headnote on the face of the statutory rule, indicating that it has been issued free of charge to all known recipients of the previous statutory rule: that, I understand, is the generally accepted practice and I would draw attention to the general point in this report.

W G Nabney
Examiner of Statutory Rules
1 February 2008

(The attention of the appropriate Committees and the Assembly is drawn to those statutory rules marked in bold)

Draft statutory rule subject to the approval of the Assembly

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008

Statutory rules subject to negative resolution

The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 (S.R. 2007/506)

The Energy Order 2003 (Supply of Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008/3)

The Roshure Road, Desertmartin (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008/12)

The Airports (Designation) (Power to Detain and Sell Aircraft) Order (Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008/13)

The New NAV List (Time of Valuation) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008/15)

The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Joint Claims) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008/16)

The Disability Discrimination (Private Hire Vehicles) (Carrying of Guide Dogs etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008/19)

The Deposits in the Sea (Exemptions) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2008 (S.R. 2008/20)