Oral Answers to Questions — Statutory Rules and Orders

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th February 1945.

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Mr. Craik Henderson:

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the frequent use in S.R. & O.'s of such phrases as "if it appears, to a particular Minister" or "the Minister if he is satisfied'' and similar phrases making the Minister the sole judge; and whether he will see that, in future Orders, persons aggrieved shall have a right of appeal to the courts or to an independent body.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The Government are in full sympathy with the view that Statutory Rules and Orders should be so framed as not to exclude from the jurisdiction of the courts of law justiciable issues such as questions of vires and interpretation, but as was pointed out in the Report of the Donoughmore Committee on Ministerial Powers, there is a clear distinction between these justiciable issues, and administrative decisions of policy which can only be taken by the Minister who is responsible to Parliament for the conduct of the service in question. Under many of the Defence Regulations, for example, the decision whether Orders imposing certain restrictions or regulations are necessary for the efficient prosecution of the war, must be taken by the responsible Minister, and accordingly it is necessary to use such phraseology as that quoted in my hon. Friend's Question. If, however, he will give me particulars of some sample Statutory Rules and Orders which he thinks are open to objection, I shall be glad to have the matter further looked into.