Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:17 pm on 9th June 2020.

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Adrian Berry:

Yes, that would be fair. What has happened—to give you an example—is that EU law has been domesticated and retained under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, and then there are clauses in the Bill that say that the law continues to apply, except in so far as it is inconsistent with immigration functions or immigration Acts. So you end up with law, which is good law in this country, but it may not apply if someone judges it to be inconsistent.

We look to the law to know what it means. We look for legal certainty and for good administration. In clause 5(5), and in paragraph 4(1) and 4(2) of schedule 1, you find the same legislative drafting technique used—retained EU law applies except in so far it is inconsistent with—and then a general statement—immigration Acts or an immigration function or regulations made. How is the ordinary person, never mind the legislator, to know whether the law is good or not in a particular area if you draft like that? You need to make better laws. Make it certain, and put on the face of the Bill those things that you think are going to be disapplied because they are inconsistent with immigration provisions. There must be a laundry list in the Home Office of these provisions and it would be better if they are expressed in the schedule to the Bill.