A Committee of MSPs is readying itself for a mountain of legislation as a result of Brexit.
The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee asks the Scottish Government to work closely with it as it prepares to scrutinise an unprecedented volume of secondary legislation in the lead up to Brexit.
In its annual report, the Committee recognises that substantial secondary legislation will be created by the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and is calling on the Scottish Government to work with the Parliament to ensure that the quality of secondary legislation and the opportunity for scrutiny is maintained.
The report welcomes the ongoing improvement in the quality of the Scottish Statutory Instruments (SSIs) laid by the Scottish Government and Lord President. It also welcomes the efforts being made to meet the commitments given to the Committee to correct errors identified in instruments.
This improvement, however, is in the context of the number of SSIs laid before the Parliament having dropped significantly this year. The Committee is seeking an explanation from the Scottish Government to understand the reasons behind this fall.
Convener of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee, Graham Simpson MSP said:
“The Committee has seen significant improvements to the quality of legislation laid by the Scottish Government but there is also a marked reduction in the number of instruments laid. We want assurances this reduction is a result of improvements in programming rather than delays in drafting.
“The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will undoubtedly generate a surge in secondary legislation. We are calling on the Scottish Government to work with us, to agree processes that will ensure that the quality of legislation and the scrutiny afforded to it is maintained in these exceptional circumstances”.
The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee’s remit encompasses a number of different roles, but its primary focus is upon the scrutiny of delegated powers in bills and SSIs.
In performing these roles, the Committee has two specific objectives;
- To ensure that Scots law is clear, accessible, and operable, and;
- to hold the responsible authority to account.