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Remedial orders

Remedial orders are a type of statutory instrument. Under the Human Rights Act 1998, courts can declare Acts of Parliament incompatible with the European convention on human rights. The Government can use remedial orders to amend Acts to remove the incompatibility.

A minister formally presents (or ‘lays’) a proposal for a draft remedial order. Parliament has 60 days to consider the proposal. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (a Committee of MPs and peers) also scrutinises the proposal.

At the end of the 60-day period, the minister can lay a draft remedial order. The minister has to report details of any representations made during the 60 days and any changes made to the proposal.

Another 60-day period follows the laying of the draft remedial order, in which the Joint Committee has to report on whether the draft order should be approved.

Once both Houses have approved the order, it can be signed into law (‘made’) by the minister.

There is also an urgent version of this procedure. This allows a minister to lay a remedial order that has already come into force (known as a ‘made’ order). After the remedial order has been laid, there are 60 days for representations to be made to the minister. The Joint Committee on Human Rights may report on the remedial order. A replacement remedial order can be laid as a result of the representations.

Under the urgent procedure either the original remedial order or the replacement remedial order has to be approved within 120 days of the making of the original order, otherwise it will stop having effect.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Remedial) Order 2012 is an example of a remedial order.