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Role - European Statutory Instruments Committee

The European Statutory Instruments Committee was established by the House of Commons to "sift" proposed negative instruments following the passing of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The House of Lords has added this new "sifting" role to the work of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee.


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). 

How it will work

The committees will have 10 sitting days, beginning the day after the proposed negative instrument is laid, to scrutinise the instrument and make their recommendations. If either of the committees recommend that a proposed negative should be upgraded to the affirmative procedure, the Minister may either accept the recommendation or reject it—which case the Minister must make a written statement explaining why.

Recommendations of the "sifting" committees will appear in weekly reports. The statutory instruments will then be laid before Parliament, under either the negative or affirmative procedure, and will be subject to the normal scrutiny processes, including the JCSI and SLSC.

Further Information