HC Deb 11 March 2003 vol 401 c151
16. Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York)

What devolution issues she has advised on since 4 February. [101093]

The Advocate-General

Since 4 February, I have examined devolution issues on a wide variety of topics including: challenges by life prisoners to fixing the punishment part of life licence hearings; the criminal liability of corporate bodies; pre-trial delay and whether the requirement on the defence to disclose that it plans to raise sexual history evidence breaches the accused's right to a fair trial.

Miss McIntosh

The hon. and learned Lady knows that partnership law remains a reserved matter. Does she realise that during the passage of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill through the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Executive tabled amendment No. 169, which would interfere with partnership law? Should not she tell the Scottish Executive not to interfere, and to allow this House to continue to enjoy its reserved powers over partnership law?

The Advocate-General

Without specific notice of the amendment to which the hon. Lady refers, I cannot give her a chapter-and-verse answer. In general, the question whether a partnership issue is reserved or devolved depends on the way in which it is introduced. The Scottish Parliament can table any amendment that it wishes. However, I ultimately have four weeks in which to consider the Bill and decide whether it is within competence. I am entitled to take a view about the matter at that stage.

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