The House of Lords and House of Commons Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments (JCSI) has reported here that in its meeting on 1 November 2017 it considered the draft The Unified Patent Court (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2017 and decided not to draw it to the attention of the Houses. (The JCSI’s role is to assess draft SIs on technical qualities, drawing the Houses’ attention to issues such as any excessive, unusual or unexpected use of the powers under the enabling Act, defective drafting or if further explanation might be required.) This draft SI must be approved by both Houses and then the Privy Council. In the House of Commons, the next step is consideration by a Delegated Legislation Committee (16-18 members who are entitled to vote, but any MP may attend and speak) and, if approved, this will be followed by a vote in the House. In the House of Lords, the draft SI has already passed scrutiny by the House’s Secondary Legislation Committee (report) and it will now be either debated in and voted on by the House, or debated in Grand Committee followed by a vote in the House.
This UK SI (explanatory memorandum here) will give legal personality to the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and provide the Court and its judges, Registrar and other staff with various privileges and immunities. As reported here, the Scottish Parliament has approved The International Organisations (Immunities and Privileges) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Order 2017, which will confer certain devolved privileges and immunities (and also requires approval by the Privy Council). These two SIs are the final pieces of legislation required to allow the UK to ratify not only the UPC’s Protocol on Privileges and Immunities but also the UPC Agreement. The UK requires the SIs because the UPC forms a separate jurisdiction to national court systems and the UK will be hosting (in Aldgate Tower, London) both a section of the Court’s central division (dealing with chemistry, life science and pharmaceutical cases) and a local division.