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Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee - role

The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee examines the policy merits of statutory instruments and other types of secondary legislation that are subject to parliamentary procedure.

The Committee's criteria for drawing an instrument to the attention of the House can be found in its terms of reference.

It works in parallel with another Committee, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments (JCSI), which considers the legal drafting of all Statutory Instruments and how they fit with the parent Act.


The Committee considers the instruments laid in any week (Monday-Friday) at its meeting on the Tuesday approximately 10 days later. A list of those instruments currently awaiting scrutiny is shown here:

The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) currently has two stages of scrutiny for instruments.

'Sifting' only applies to ‘proposed negative’ instruments which the Government wish to lay under section 23(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 or sections 11, 12 or 14 of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023. The Committee considers the policy content, and recommends whether these instruments should remain as negatives, or be ‘upgraded’ to the affirmative resolution procedure because they contain something that the House would wish to debate.

Routine policy scrutiny applies to all Statutory Instruments and other types of secondary legislation that are subject to parliamentary procedure (including proposed negatives being re-laid after sifting). It examines the policy content and intended outcome of the legislation to consider whether it is interesting or flawed, using the criteria in its terms of reference. To facilitate this government departments should provide good quality explanatory memorandum and supporting information about its likely effects, for example in the form of an Impact Assessment.

Those instruments about which the Committee has concerns are featured in the Committee’s weekly report, some which represent interesting policy developments will have a short descriptive paragraph, the rest will be cleared without comment. SLSC Reports are published here:

More detail on:

Sub-Committees (Not currently active)

From October 2018 to April 2019, to deal with the increased number of instruments resulting from the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the SLSC divided into two sub-committees, Sub-Committee A and Sub-Committee B, These sub-committees met weekly and followed the same remit as the main Committee, which did not meet regularly during this period.

Accessing the work of the Committee

  • As well as finding information on the SLSC’s webpages, a timeline for each instrument with links to the SLSC and JCSI Reports and any debates is available from the Statutory Instruments Service
  • Further information on how to access the work of the Committee can be found in its 45th Report of Session 2017-19.