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Medicines And Pesticides: Authorisation

Volume 593: debated on Thursday 3 September 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Donoughue on 16 July (

WA 39), whether they will specify which sections of which Acts of Parliament oblige Ministers to accept the advice given to them by any of the statutory advisory committees, rather than to consult the committees; and whether they will place in the Library of the House papers relating to the "subsequent study of the issue" referred to in that Answer, including any instructions to Counsel and Counsel's opinion. [HL2872]

The legislation which, in relation to marketing authorisations for veterinary medicinal products, specifies the functions of the Ministers in dealing with the statutory advisory committees comprises Regulation 12 of Schedule 3 to the Marketing Authorisations for Veterinary Medicinal Products Regulations 1994 (SI 1994/3142) as amended; which implement Council Directive 81/851/EEC as amended. Ministers' approval functions in relation to pesticides are specified in the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (SI 1986/1510) as amended—except where pesticides fall to be regulated as plant protection products under the regime introduced pursuant to Council Directive 91/414/EEC as amended, in which case their approval functions are specified in the Plant Protection Products Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/887) as amended; the functions of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and Ministers' duties to consult them are found in Section 16 of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985, as amended. None of the legislation expressly obliges Ministers to adopt the recommendation of any given committee. The lawfulness of choosing, in any given case, to grant, refuse, withdraw or suspend authorisation/approval despite a committee recommendation to the contrary would need to be tested against general EC principles. UK administrative law principles and the terms of the specific legislation.The reference to subsequent study in the Written Answer of 16 July related to further consideration of legal issues relating to the precautionary principle. The papers relating to this study concerned the request for and provision of legal advice and, in accordance with normal practice with respect to its legal advice, the Government does not propose to make them available.