Thursday, 7 January 2010

Video Recordings Act

Previously I've written about the farce that is the 1984 Video Recordings Act which is no longer enforceable in UK courts because of a technical loophole.

Currently going through Parliament is the Video Recordings Bill which is designed to correct this anomaly, and 'thankfully' this time our real government in Brussels was notified on 10th September 2009, so when it does become an Act it will be enforceable.

Yesterday my MP Ed Vaizey took part in this debate with Sion Simon and made a couple of interesting points (my emphasis):
it may be worth noting that the legislation was not notified in draft because it was a private Member's Bill, not a Government Bill. Will the Minister elaborate on how the error was discovered in 2009 and, to return to the point, on when the Cabinet Office intends to conclude its audit of all Acts passed since 1984 in terms of their compliance with the technical standards directive [Directive 83/189 (now Directive 98/34)]?
It'll be interesting to see when this audit concludes what other acts are unenforceable because of the EU. The exchange continues:
Ed Vaizey: As I understand it, an Act passed by a sovereign Parliament is not an Act unless it has been approved by Brussels.

Siôn Simon: I want to reassure the hon. Gentleman that the Act remains an Act: an Act of this Parliament is an Act of Parliament when it is an Act of Parliament. All that is in question is the enforceability of the Act, which remains on the statute book.

That's almost a; 'move along nothing to see here' response, not much point having Acts of Parliament if they're unenforceable, as Vaizey argues:

Ed Vaizey: We are in danger of descending into sophistry. It is an Act of Parliament, but it is a toothless one unless it is referred to Brussels. That is the situation that we are in.

Indeed it is...

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