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Planned new Government legal powers “unjustified and ill-considered”

4 May 2020

The Constitution Committee has published a report on the Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill [HL]


The Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill [HL] was introduced to the House on 28 February 2020 and had its second reading on Tuesday 17 March.

The purpose of the Bill is to provide a new framework for the incorporation of international rules relating to private international law (“PIL”) in domestic law. Currently the UK is privy to agreements as part of its membership of the EU and this Bill will provide the framework needed to enter into agreements in our own right. Private international law governs cases such as contract disputes or divorces which raise cross-border issues

Key findings

In this report the Committee recognises the need for the Bill but does not agree with some of the powers it contains.

Clause 2 of the Bill would give the Government the power to implement international agreements which change UK law through Statutory Instruments rather than by Acts of Parliament. The Committee recommends that the clause be removed from the Bill stating "Deletion of clause 2 would not affect the important and necessary measures in the Bill.  It would simply remove a power for the Government to implement future private international law agreements without primary legislation and its attendant scrutiny".

In addition, the Committee asks the Government why it did not consult its own advisory committee as part of consultation on the Bill.

Members of the Committee will speak to this effect when Committee Stage takes place.

Further information