Clause 58

Part of Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 19 June 2008.

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Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Minister of State (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Employment Relations and Postal Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 9:45, 19 June 2008

The clause touches on an issue alluded to by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, North the other day, so I thought that it might be worth setting out what we hope to achieve in the provision. My hon. Friend pointed out that the Procurator Fiscal Service and the Lord Advocate decide on prosecution matters in Scotland. The clause recognises that. It states:

“A Minister of the Crown must obtain the consent of the Lord Advocate before making an order under this Part in relation to an offence in Scotland.”

There are two issues involved: the legal issue and the devolution issue. I will deal with devolution first. Clause 56 is clear:

“An order under this Part may not, except for consequential purposes, make any provision which would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament.”

We are familiar with the concepts of devolved and reserved matters.

Clause 58 requires that a Minister proposing to make an order affecting the prosecution of any offence in Scotland must obtain the agreement of the Lord Advocate. The Lord Advocate is responsible for prosecution in Scotland and should therefore consent to the proposed changes. Giving regulators civil sanction powers would remove that decision from the Lord Advocate, so we thought that it was absolutely right to put the provision into the Bill.

Subsection (2) requires a Minister proposing to make an order affecting the powers of a regulator that is a local authority in Scotland to consult Scottish Ministers.