House of Commons Library

Post-Legislative Scrutiny

Published Thursday, May 23, 2013

This note outlines the background to and the Government’s approach to post-legislative scrutiny. By January 2013, 58 memorandums on post-legislative assessments had been published. The note also gives some details of individual inquiries held by Select Committees in response to the publication of several Memorandums, as well as some detail on post-legislative scrutiny in the House of Lords.

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This note provides a brief examination of the major reports into post-legislative scrutiny in the United Kingdom since 2004. It describes the main recommendations from the reports by the Constitution Committee and Law Commission and the Government’s response to each. The Constitution Committee reported in October 2004 and found there was a significant room for greater post-legislative scrutiny. The Committee recommended that Government departments should be responsible for producing a Memorandum of the post-legislative review of an Act, which a select committee could then conduct an inquiry into.

Acknowledging the Constitution Committee’s findings, the Government then asked the Law Commission to conduct its own inquiry into post-legislative scrutiny. The Law Commission reported back in October 2006 proposing a Joint Committee for Post-Legislative Scrutiny.

On 20 March 2008, the Leader of the House of Commons announced that she was publishing Post-legislative scrutiny – The Government’s Approach, the Government’s response to the Law Commission’s report. The report’s conclusions were similar to those in the Constitution Committee original report. The Government was not persuaded by the case for a new Joint Committee.

The note outlines the Government’s approach to post-legislative scrutiny. By January 2013, 58 memorandums on post-legislative assessments had been published. The note also gives details of the individual inquiries held by Select Committees in response to the publication of several Memorandums, as well as some detail on post-legislative scrutiny in the House of Lords.

Commons Briefing papers SN05232

Author: Richard Kelly

Topics: Legislative process, Parliament

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