HL Deb 13 June 1991 vol 529 cc65-6WA
Baroness Carnegy of Lour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will review the existing arrangements for enabling the public to have access to the texts of legislation, and if they will make a statement.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern):

I recognise that I have a responsibility, on behalf of the Government, to ensure that satisfactory arrangements are made for the publication of the statute book, in order that the citizen may know by what laws he is bound. Since 1868, the Statute Law Committee, established by my predecessor Lord Cairns, has met periodically to consider issues relating to the publication of the statute book. In recent times it has been assisted by an editorial board to supervise the publication of Statutes in Force and by a secretariat.

I have come to the conclusion that these somewhat complex arrangements are not best suited, under modern conditions, for the effective discharge of this responsibility. I have, therefore, decided to replace the committee, and its subordinate bodies, with a single body to be known as the Advisory Committee on Statute Law. This body will advise me as and when required on all matters relating to the publication of the statute book, including the availability of up-to-date texts in both printed and electronic form. It will meet under my chairmanship or that of my Permanent Secretary, and its membership will comprise the Clerk of the Parliaments, the Clerk of the House of Commons, the Chairman of the Law Commission, the Chairman of the Scottish Law Commission, First Parliamentary Counsel, the Legal Secretary to the Lord Advocate and First Scottish Parliamentary Counsel, First Legislative Counsel for Northern Ireland, the Treasury Solicitor, the Solicitor to the Scottish Office, and representatives from Her Majesty's Stationery Office and my department. In addition, it will be able to involve user and consumer groups as necessary, either by way of consultation or by invitation to attend meetings of the committee.