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Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad

Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee

10/02/2020

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Carwyn Jones AM
Dai Lloyd AM
Mick Antoniw AM Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Suzy Davies AM

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Gareth Howells Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
P Gareth Williams Clerc
Clerk
Rachel Davies Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Rhiannon Lewis Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 14:30.

The meeting began at 14:30.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introduction, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

This is a meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee, the first meeting of this committee with that formal change of name, with 'Justice'. We move straight on to item 1. There are no apologies. We are expecting full attendance at the committee today. The usual housekeeping rules apply. Are there are declarations of interest? If there are none, we move straight on to item 2.

2. Offerynnau sy'n cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i’r Cynulliad o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3
2. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3

Instruments that raise issues to be reported under Standing Orders 21.2 and 21.3. The Official Controls (Animals, Feed and Food, Plant Health Fees etc.) (Wales) Regulations 2020: we have before us a detailed report, regulations and explanatory memorandum, and of course a letter from the Trefnydd dated 22 January 2020. These are regulations that replace the Official Controls (Animals, Food and Feed) (Wales) Regulations 2007 and substantially amend the Trade in Animals and Related Products (Wales) Regulations 2011. I think there are a couple of minor points that have been identified in that.

Yes, there are a few reporting points, starting on pack page 1. No Government response has been received yet, so perhaps if I go through them quickly today they can then be revisited when the Government response is received.

The first point questions why certain bits of legislation are being deleted. The second point seeks clarification around some powers of enforcement. The third point questions why references to certain bits of legislation are being added when they appear to have been added already. The fourth point simply notes a missing 'of' in the text of regulation 23. The fifth point notes an incorrect cross-reference to another piece of legislation. The sixth and seventh points relate to minor inconsistencies between the texts of the English and the Welsh. The eighth point just notes that these regulations are changing the amounts of fees payable to the Welsh Ministers, which is a reporting ground under Standing Order 21.3(i). The ninth point notes a breach of the 21-day rule but asks a few questions around the timing of these regulations. And the final point simply notes the Welsh Ministers had a choice of whether to follow an affirmative procedure or a negative procedure for these regulations; they chose the negative procedure, which appears to be appropriate.

Okay, so there are a number of points there—quite a number, but relatively minor points. They've gone to Government; we're awaiting a response. Any comments to add at this stage, or wait for a response from Government on those?

Okay. We move on to item 2.2, the Plant Health etc. (Fees) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. Again, before us we have a report, with copies of the regulations and explanatory memorandum. These are regulations that amend the Plant Health etc. (Fees) (Wales) Regulations 2018, which specify fees payable to the Welsh Ministers in relation to plant health services and the certification of seed potatoes and fruit plants and fruit plant propagation material. I think you've identified just one merit point, which is in regard to the change of fees.

Yes, which again is a reporting ground under 21.3(i).

Okay, so unless there are any observations on that, we just note that.

We move on then to item 2.3, the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2020. Again, you have all the relevant documentation before you. This is obviously an important item at this particular stage, because these regulations amend the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989 to ensure that NHS services for any overseas visitor who requires diagnosis or treatment for the Wuhan novel coronavirus is provided without charge to that overseas visitor. Any points identified there?  

Yes, simply a merits point to note a breach of the 21-day rule, and the public health reasons given by the Welsh Government for the need to make these regulations quickly.

Yes, so that breach is clearly understandable within these particular circumstances. Any other points or observations? If not, then we move on to affirmative resolution instruments. We are on to the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Prescribed Limits of Default Payments) (Wales) Regulations 2020. Again, you have all of the relevant documentation, including a report, regulations and explanatory memorandum, before you. The regulations specify limits for certain types of payments required in the event of a default by a contract-holder of a standard occupation contract. A merit point's been identified, and of course the Plenary debate in respect of this instrument is on 25 February. So, comments?

14:35

Yes, there's a merits point on the draft report on pack page 101, which notes that the kinds of default payments covered by these regulations reflect what was discussed and anticipated when the enabling Act, the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Act 2019, was being scrutinised by the Assembly. For example, these regulations set out the default payment that applies when a tenant is late paying rent. They also set out the default payment where the landlord has to change a lock because of something the tenant has done.

3. Is-ddeddfwriaeth sy'n cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i’r Cynulliad o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.7
3. Subordinate legislation that raises issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.7

To the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (Disapplication of the Deferral of Subordinate Legislation) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Again, you have the report, regulations and a letter from the First Minister dated 30 January 2020. By way of explanation, Part 4 of the withdrawal agreement provides for the implementation period. Paragraph 1(1) of Schedule 5 to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 gives legal effect to the implementation period by non-textually amending the coming-into-force dates of subordinate legislation that come into force immediately before exit day, on exit day, or at any time after exit day. So, this subordinate legislation will instead come into force immediately before the end of the implementation period, on implementation period completion day, or at the time concerned after the implementation period completion day. Again, there's a reporting point that's been identified.

Yes. Nothing on these regulations themselves, just raising a broader issue about the complexity of legislation. All those EU exit instruments the committee scrutinised last year—most of them say, for example, they come into force on exit day, and they still say that. But they didn't come into force on exit day, because there's something tucked away in Schedule 5 to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 that basically says, 'Oh, when you read that something came into force on exit day, ignore that, it actually comes into force at the end of the implementation period on 31 December 2020.' There are hundreds of these instruments where the commencement has been deferred until 31 December 2020, unless, that is, something is carved out from that blanket deferral, as is happening in these regulations.

In these regulations, the Elections (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, which say they came into force on exit day, really did come into force on exit day. They needed to come into force because there are no Welsh Members of the European Parliament any more, and so there was no need to defer the elections legislation until December 2020. The draft report simply notes this added layer of complexity to legislation.

4. Papur i'w nodi
4. Paper to note

We now have a paper to note. We have item 4.1, a letter from the Minister for Housing and Local Government on the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill. So, we're invited to note the letter from the Minister for Housing and Local Government, which includes drafts of the proposed Stage 2 amendments relating to the extension of the franchise for local government elections to certain prisoners and young people in custody from Wales. If there are any matters on these, I suggest we defer those to the private session.

5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod
5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Okay, we have a number of matters to discuss in private session. So, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi), I invite the committee to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Do Members agree?

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:39.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 14:39.

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