Consideration of SIs
3 February 2020
Informal pre-laying scrutiny of affirmative instruments
Informal pre-laying scrutiny of affirmative instruments to be laid before both Houses
Affirmative instruments falling within the remit of the JCSI can be considered by the Committee’s legal advisers in the House of Lords in advance of their formal laying. This informal pre-laying scrutiny can minimise delay between the laying of an instrument and its consideration by the JCSI, and reduce the need for it to be considered at more than one meeting of the JCSI. There is no legal or procedural obligation to submit drafts of instruments for informal pre-laying scrutiny, but those Departments which have sufficiently robust internal arrangements in place for the quality assurance of their affirmative instruments are at liberty to do so.
Further details – about the practical arrangements for informal pre-laying scrutiny, the conditions on which it is provided, and the timetables for laying affirmative instruments and their subsequent consideration by the JCSI – are accessible via the link below.
Separate arrangements apply in relation to the advance checking by the Committee’s legal advisers in the House of Commons of drafts of affirmative instruments to be laid before the House of Commons only, and the extent to which they may be prepared to provide advance guidance on specific elements of non-affirmative instruments.
The guidance published above refers to a ten sitting day turn around for informal pre-laying scrutiny of draft affirmative instruments. During the current period of increased activity, it is less likely that that will be achievable, particularly for documents with a large number of pages. Departments are also reminded that the 10 sitting days is a minimum, is indicate and “best endeavours” and refers only to the first of what may need to be several exchanges about the draft. Please send your draft affirmative for pre-scrutiny to HLCounselJCSI@parliament.uk but Departments are of course free to lay draft affirmative instruments before Parliament without first submitting them for pre-laying, informal scrutiny.