A House of Lords committee has slammed the government?s ?laissez faire? attitude to the making of secondary legislation in a report published this week.

The merits of statutory instruments committee called on the government to be more open in its consultation on the formulation on secondary legislation and to allow the correct time for debate. ?Secondary legislation should not be given second-class treatment: its impact on business or the citizen can be significant,? it said.

Headed by Lord Filkin, the committee warned that ?because statutory instruments cannot be amended during parliamentary scrutiny, it is essential that they should be well formulated and well explained when they are presented?.

At the heart of the matter was bad management, the committee said, with an ?absence in some departments of a strategic approach to the making of statutory instruments?.

Law Society President Kevin Martin said: ?Because it cannot be amended, this kind of legislation needs to be correct when it reaches Parliament ? and all too often it is not.?

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