Emergency Law Pending To Be Approved In The UK: The Civil Contingencies Act 2004
The time available is less than a week. This is when the The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 will be debated in the House of Lords of the UK Parliament before being approved.
"This bill enables the UK Government to declare a State of Emergency on trivial or "threatened" events (e.g. an oil slick, threatened "damage to property", threatened "destruction of plant life", threatened "disruption of a supply of money").
Neither the Second World War nor IRA terrorism brought about such draconian legislation."
This bill gives the Government the ability to call a state of emergency on the grounds of a bewildering variety of trivial events or non-events.
• Lord Lucas, speaking at the second reading of the bill in the House of Lords on 15 July asked "Are we opening up our system to the equivalent of what happened in Germany in 1933, where it becamepossible for an extreme party legitimately to hijack a democracy?"
• The bill enables any government minister - including those enforcers of Party discipline, the Government Whips - to introduce emergency regulations on their own authority.
• "These ill thought out measures,which threaten our most fundamental freedoms are being rushed throughParliament with inadequate discussion and too little media scrutiny."
(Source: Taking Liberties: The Civil Contingencies Bill and why it should be rejected (PDF))
I went out to research the issue and am reporting here below some unedited excerpts from the actual Bill as published by the UK Parliament. Look and judge yourself whether this is something worth of attention or not.
Scope of Emergency Regulations (See under part 3) of this this section)
"Emergency regulations may make provision of any kind that could be made by an Act of Parliament or by the exercise of the Royal Prerogative; in particular, regulations may--
(a) confer a function on a Minister of the Crown, on the Scottish Ministers, on the National Assembly for Wales, on a Northern Ireland department, on a coordinator appointed under section 23 or on any other specified person (and a function conferred may, in particular, be-- (i) a power, or duty, to exercise a discretion;
(ii) a power to give directions or orders, whether written or oral);
(b) provide for or enable the requisition or confiscation of property (with or without compensation);
(c) provide for or enable the destruction of property, animal life or plant life (with or without compensation);
(d) prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, movement to or from a specified place;
(e) require, or enable the requirement of, movement to or from a specified place;
(f) prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, assemblies of specified kinds, at specified places or at specified times;
(g) prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, travel at specified times;
(h) prohibit, or enable the prohibition of, other specified activities;
(i) create an offence of-- (i) failing to comply with a provision of the regulations;
(ii) failing to comply with a direction or order given or made under the regulations; (iii) obstructing a person in the performance of a function under or
by virtue of the regulations;
(j) disapply or modify an enactment (other than a provision of this Part) or a provision made under or by virtue of an enactment;
(k) require a person or body to act in performance of a function (whether the function is conferred by the regulations or otherwise and whether or not the regulations also make provision for remuneration or compensation);"
(2) The first condition is that an emergency has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur.
(3) The second condition is that it is necessary to make provision for the purpose of preventing, controlling or mitigating an aspect or effect of the emergency.
(4) The third condition is that the need for provision referred to in subsection (3) is urgent.
In this Part "emergency" means an event or situation which threatens serious damage to--
(a) human welfare in the United Kingdom or in a Part or region,
(b) the environment of the United Kingdom or of a Part or region, or
(c) the security of the United Kingdom or a Part or region.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a) an event or situation threatens damage to human welfare only if it involves, causes or may cause--
(a) loss of human life,
(b) human illness or injury,
(d) damage to property,
(e) disruption of a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel,
(f) disruption of an electronic or other system of communication,
(g) disruption of facilities for transport, or
(h) disruption of services relating to health.
Civil Contingencies Bill
Other relevant documents relating to the Civil Contingencies Bill:
The Bill will be debated in the House of Lords on 15 September 2004.
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