Joint Committees are committees that are made up of both MPs and Lords, and the members of each House work together to examine issues. Joint Committees operate like Select Committees and may conduct an ongoing examination of a particular area, such as gambling or stem cell research, or they may study specific matters, for example House of Lords reform.
Two Joint Committees are set up on a permanent basis, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which considers human rights issues in the UK, and the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, which meets to scrutinise delegated legislation.
From early 2013, I have served on the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which looks at all proposed legislation before both Houses in the context of their compatibility or otherwise with the European Convention on Human Rights. It also undertakes post legislative scrutiny of a number of pieces of legislation.
As a member of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, I have been able to scrutinise this form of legislation. Statutory Instruments (SIs) allow the provisions of an Act of Parliament to be subsequently brought into force or altered without Parliament having to pass a new Act. They are also referred to as secondary, delegated or subordinate legislation. I served on this committee from 2010 to 2013.
During this term, I have been on the Joint Committee on the Consolidation of Bills in relation to the Charities Bill. This Committee considers Bills which bring together a number of existing Acts of Parliament on the same subject into one Act without amending the law, although they occasionally contain minor corrections and improvements.
From 2011 to 2012, I had the privilege to be a member of the Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions. This Committee was created in response to concerns about the use of super-injunctions and the phone-hacking scandal to investigate how the statutory and common law on privacy and the use of anonymity injunctions and super-injunctions has operated in practice. It considered how best to strike the balance between privacy and freedom of expression, in particular how best to determine whether there is a public interest in material concerning people’s private and family life. In addition it also covered issues relating to the enforcement of anonymity injunctions and super-injunctions, including the internet, cross-border jurisdiction within the United Kingdom, parliamentary privilege and the rule of law, as well as issues relating to media regulation in this context, including the role of the Press Complaints Commission and the Office of Communications (OFCOM).