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Before my noble friend replies, I will make just a couple of points as a current member of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. I preface them by saying how greatly the committee will relish the praise that my noble friend heaped upon it at the outset.
The two points arise from the committee’s report. The first relates to Regulation 5(1), where the committee points out that it would have been far better if the department, despite the explanation that it provided, had avoided the ambiguity of language to which the committee drew attention by replacing vague concepts with clearer definitions instead of continuing with its own approach.
The second point relates to Regulation 5(2), to which the committee drew attention because it appears to give very wide powers to the courts that will be called upon to adjudicate issues. Despite the department’s explanation, the committee remained concerned,
“at the breadth of the discretion conferred on a court by regulation 5(2)”.
It went on to say that this regulation,
“leaves it entirely to the courts to determine—on a case-by-case basis—what law they should apply in any particular case”.
I would be very grateful if my noble friend could touch on those points when he replies.