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Mental Capacity Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:30 pm on 1st February 2005.

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Photo of Lord Goodhart Lord Goodhart Shadow Minister, Law Officers (Constitutional Affairs) 10:30 pm, 1st February 2005

This is a very fraught and, again, a wholly technical point. Clause 40(3) authorises the Lord Chancellor to delegate the preparation or revision of the code, and I ask why this particular subsection is necessary.

It is a well established general principle that, unless a Minister is required by law to do something personally, he or she can delegate statutory functions to a subordinate. Introducing specific permission to delegate is unnecessary. Further, it may be taken as an indication that in other places the usual power of delegation does not apply. Does it mean, for example, that the Lord Chancellor must draft the Court of Protection rules under Clause 49(1) himself because there is no specific power to delegate that function? Surely it would be best to leave out subsection (3) and avoid that question ever arising. I beg to move.