Skip to main content

Public Engagement

10 August 2018


The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 gives Ministers wide powers to make regulations to deal with the "deficiencies in retained EU law" which may result from the UK's withdrawal from the EU. It allows them a choice of procedure and most regulations will first be laid as "proposed negative instruments", which after a "sifting" process, will be laid as statutory instruments (SIs). The proposed negative instruments will appear on the website.

The EU (Withdrawal) Act also provides that committees in each House should "sift" these proposed negative instruments, to determine if any put forward for the negative procedure contain material that would be more appropriate to the affirmative procedure (which requires a debate in each House).

The Government expects to lay approximately 600 of these instruments before March 2019.

Can I submit comments?

Yes. The European Statutory Instrument Committee in the House of Commons welcomes comments to help inform the 'sifting' process for individual proposed negative instruments. The Committee has set up an engagement tool to help facilitate evidence collection from the public, stakeholders and organisations. This tool is live now and can be accessed here:

How do I submit comments?

Comments should be posted on the Committee's Engagement Tool site and should relate to an individual proposed negative instrument. To help ensure your comments are considered please include the title of the proposed negative instrument you wish to submit comments on in the subject box of the email. Titles of the instruments will appear on the website, which will also include the instrument itself and an explanatory memorandum giving details of the policy aims of the instrument.

What should I include in my comments?

The Committee’s agreed terms of reference instruct it to consider whether any instrument contains provisions which, under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act, require it to be subject to the affirmative procedure, and whether it otherwise merits being subject to the affirmative procedure. Your comments are welcome in both these areas. In making its decisions the Committee is likely to consider:

  • Whether the instrument proposes a change which is legally important—that is, whether it proposes to amend existing law or make new law in a way which is significant;
  • Whether the instrument is politically important—for instance, whether the Government is proposing a legislative change which involves a change in policy which merits further debate before it is approved; and
  • Whether a proposed change in legislation, taken together with other proposals, is significant enough to require further scrutiny.

It is suggested that the information you provide is in the form of answers to the following questions:

  1. Will this proposed instrument make a substantial change to how the law will operate in the UK in the future? [300 words max]
  2. If so, what change will it make and what effect will that change have? [300 words max]
  3. What are your reasons for considering that the changes made by the SI would have potentially significant consequences that should be debated by Parliament? [300 words max]

Please include your name and whether you are representing an organisation.

How much time do I have?

The Committee will have 10 sitting days, beginning the day after the proposed negative instrument is laid, to scrutinise the instrument and make their recommendations. This means the time available for comment will vary. The website gives details of the ‘sift end date’ for each instrument. However, it is likely that in most cases the Committee will consider the instrument ahead of this date. The Committee team will be happy to provide assistance on the deadlines for each individual instrument to ensure the Committee can take account of your views.

What happens after I submit my comments?

The Committee Clerks will summarise comments and provide them to the Committee. It will form part of the information available to the Committee to consider when coming to its decisions.

Will all comments be accepted?

The Committee team will endeavor to include all relevant comments in their summary for the Committee. It will help if comments are clear, precise and relate to a specific instrument. Ultimately, the Clerk of the Committee decides what information is provided to the Committee in order for it to do its work.

How can I keep track of the Committee’s decisions?

The Committee will publish the outcome of its work in reports following every meeting which will appear on this website.

How can I keep track of Statutory Instruments?

The Parliament website has a new feature which allows you to find all statutory instruments and follow their progress.

Further information

Image & Video: © Parliamentary copyright