Public Law

On 1 March the Law Commissions of Scotland, England & Wales, and Northern Ireland published a joint consultation seeking views on how the regulation of health care professionals in the UK and social workers in England can be made clearer, simpler, more modern and more consistent. This is the first ever joint project involving all three law reform bodies and you can read the detail of the consultation in the press release and summary here. The Commissions seek responses by 31 May 2012.

The consultation document is a midnight-oil-demanding 296 pages so we will report back in more detail once we have had the time to digest it in full. In the meantime the headline is that the Law Commissions are proposing a single Act of Parliament to provide the legal framework for all of the health and social care regulators forming part of the consultation. Interestingly from a Scottish perspective some regulation of professional groups is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and some reserved to the Westminster Parliament. The Law Commissions are proposing to give the UK Government regulation-making powers in relation to health care professionals. Any proposed use of those powers in respect of a profession for which the Scottish Parliament has legislative competence would have to be consulted on by the Scottish Ministers and laid before both Parliaments before having any effect.

Niall McLean