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Shops Act 1950

Volume 165: debated on Wednesday 17 January 1990

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To ask the Attorney-General if he will make it his policy to give a favourable response to any application by a local authority for his fiat to a relator action in pursuance of its statutory duty to enforce the Shops Act 1950.

The statutory duty of local authorities to enforce the Shops Act 1950 is not subject to the consent of the Attorney-General. Local authorities act independently in the exercise of the duty.

To ask the Attorney-General what (a) assistance or (b) guidance he is proposing to give local authorities on the taking of measures to secure compliance with the Shops Act 1950 in the light of the recent decision of the European Court of Justice on 23 November.

Section 71 of the Shops Act 1950 places a clear duty on local authorities to enforce the provisions of the Act. That duty has not been altered by the judgment of the European Court of Justice in case 145/88.

To ask the Attorney-General what representations he has received from the chairman of the Keep Sunday Special Campaign on the enforcement of the Shops Act 1950 in the light of the European Court decision on 23 November; if he will publish his response in the Official Report; and if he will make a statement.

The chairman of the Keep Sunday Special Campaign asked to see me with a group of trade representatives from the retail trade. I found the meeting helpful. It was useful to hear at first hand the problems of the enforcement of the Shops Act 1950 as they are perceived by some members of the trade.It is now for the domestic courts to apply the judgment of the European Court of Justice in case 145/88. Parliament has conferred the responsibility for enforcing the legislation on local authorities and I am not persuaded that it is appropriate for me to take an initiative on either a local or a national basis at present.