Joint Committee on the Draft Deregulation Bill report

The report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Deregulation Bill recommends that the proposal in the draft Bill to allow Ministers to make orders to scrap legislation if they consider it ‘no longer of practical use’ be removed from the Bill on the grounds that the power is ‘too wide and the safeguards are inadequate’.

The Committee recommend that rather than giving Ministers the power to remove legislation, as proposed in the draft Bill, the Law Commissions should be encouraged to bring forward an annual Statute Law (Repeals) Bill, in consultation with Government departments. This would provide the flexibility to allow departments to repeal legislation in areas of concern to them with the benefit of the expertise and independence of the Law Commissions.

Clause 2 of the Draft Deregulation Bill relates to the removal of the power for Employment Tribunals in discrimination cases, where there has been a finding of breach of the Equality Act 2010, to make a wider recommendation. This clause is a particular concern for NGOs, with the Equality and Diversity Forum believing ‘that the power remaining would “lead to less litigation rather than more” and that if recommendations are implemented properly it could save employers future costs’ (submission to the Joint Committee cited on page 61 of the report).

The  report does not recommend removal of clause 2, however it states that the Committee ‘received large amounts of evidence on this clause, much of which highlighted the fact that the power has been rarely used in the short time it has been in existence’ (p60).

The report was published on 19 December 2013.

The Draft Deregulation Bill was published for pre-legislative scrutiny on 1 July 2013, with proposals to remove employment tribunal judges’ powers to make wider recommendations.

The Equality and Diversity Forum submitted a response to the Committee’s call for evidence