The Committee examines the policy merits of any statutory instrument or regulations that are subject to parliamentary procedure.
Merits Committee Reports on Statutory Instruments
Through its reports, the Committee draws to the "special attention of the House" any statutory instrument (SI) laid in the previous week which it considers may be interesting, flawed or inadequately explained by the Government. The Committee's current full terms of reference provide more detail.
It normally comments on statutory instruments within 12-15 days of their being laid before Parliament. This leaves plenty of time for any Member of the House to pursue the issues raised by asking a question or tabling a motion for debate within the 40 day ''prayer'' period for rejecting negative instruments.
The eleven members of the Committee are drawn from all the main political parties and the cross-benchers, and act on behalf of the House to ensure that every statutory instrument receives a degree of scrutiny. Their reports flag up those SIs they find to be interesting or flawed in some way.