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PELs: Exemptions?

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Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 08:39 AM
Bagpuss 09 Jan 03 - 08:44 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 08:46 AM
Dave Bryant 09 Jan 03 - 08:47 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 08:49 AM
sian, west wales 09 Jan 03 - 08:56 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 08:58 AM
DMcG 09 Jan 03 - 09:11 AM
vectis 09 Jan 03 - 09:38 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 09:53 AM
Mr Happy 09 Jan 03 - 11:36 AM
sian, west wales 09 Jan 03 - 11:42 AM
Mr Happy 10 Jan 03 - 05:39 AM
maldenny 10 Jan 03 - 04:28 PM
Nemesis 11 Jan 03 - 06:29 AM
clansfolk 11 Jan 03 - 06:52 AM
clansfolk 11 Jan 03 - 07:23 AM
gnomad 11 Jan 03 - 01:08 PM
vectis 12 Jan 03 - 06:50 PM
DMcG 13 Jan 03 - 04:47 AM
Mr Happy 13 Jan 03 - 04:59 AM
DMcG 13 Jan 03 - 05:21 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jan 03 - 08:33 AM
ET 22 Jan 03 - 09:26 AM
Mr Happy 22 Jan 03 - 09:36 AM
DMcG 22 Jan 03 - 09:41 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Jan 03 - 10:34 AM
DMcG 22 Jan 03 - 10:45 AM
IanC 22 Jan 03 - 10:45 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Jan 03 - 03:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jan 03 - 09:37 AM
clansfolk 25 Jan 03 - 12:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Jan 03 - 01:24 PM
Mr Happy 29 Jan 03 - 02:45 PM
DMcG 29 Jan 03 - 02:58 PM
The Shambles 29 Jan 03 - 03:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jan 03 - 03:25 PM
Richard Bridge 29 Jan 03 - 05:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jan 03 - 09:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Jan 03 - 09:10 PM
Richard Bridge 30 Jan 03 - 02:49 PM
The Shambles 31 Jan 03 - 08:51 AM
clansfolk 01 Feb 03 - 05:39 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Feb 03 - 07:49 AM
The Shambles 01 Feb 03 - 08:02 AM
clansfolk 01 Feb 03 - 08:50 AM
The Shambles 01 Feb 03 - 09:48 AM
The Shambles 01 Feb 03 - 09:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Feb 03 - 10:16 AM
clansfolk 01 Feb 03 - 10:19 AM
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Subject: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:39 AM

PELs : Exemptions

Under the present proposals the exemptions from needing a PEL include emoving vehiclesf.

Does this then mean all musicians & singers will be free from prosecution if they hold their sessions on modes of transport?

What could these be?

Buses
Cars
Trains & boats & planes
Horse & cart
On horseback [if a horse qualifies as a vehicle]
A pushbike/tandem
A motorbike- possible for passenger to play a melodeon if seated facing away from the driver.
Hot air balloons
Submarines


more?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:44 AM

What about if the participants at a session all ride around on a little tricyle whilst playing?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:46 AM

LOL- what a picture in the mind's eye


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:47 AM

Could be dodgy trying to play a guitar and drive at the same time though.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:49 AM

well a taxi then- or elect/hire a chaffeur


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:56 AM

I believe they actually have to be moving during the performance, therefore sessions on trains, but not when they're in the station.

sian


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 08:58 AM

no using the loo either


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: DMcG
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:11 AM

Roller skates?

Vehicle are excused if they are moving, but not if they are 'temporarily parked'. I would guess, from the regulations on parking tickets, there is a legal distinction between being 'temporarily parked' and merely stopped. Sounds like a loophole to me, folks.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: vectis
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:38 AM

skateboards
pogo sticks
scooters
the thought of Joe Stead on a hovercraft in our folk club has me LOL.
sitting on a mobile barstool

The mind boggles

well mine is anyway :-)


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 09:53 AM

Seriously tho folks, there are some established 'folk trains' on private lines like the one they run at Bridgnorth Folk Festival.

Any more?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:36 AM

a chiming ice-cream van just past by my house- he's ok as long as he keeps moving.

& then there's lifts [elevators]- some already have muzak in already- d'ye think we could organise a sinaround in a lift?

but we'd have to stop at every flaw.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: sian, west wales
Date: 09 Jan 03 - 11:42 AM

There used to be a jazz train from Swansea to Milford Haven. And the Ammanford C&W club used to have the occasional outing on the mid-Wales line.

sian


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 05:39 AM

Here's some more:

From http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/articles/two_in_a_bar17.shtml


'It would appear that historical battle re-enactments are also newly criminalised (unless licensed), as is horse-and-carriage racing indoors.'

BUT, moving vehicles are EXEMPT- more ambiguity

&



* Schedule 1 of the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations sets out the 'Main activities which determine whether local authorities will be enforcing authorities' (i.e. of health and safety legislation). Para 9 stipulates the following activities: 'The practice or presentation of the arts, sports, games, entertainment or other cultural or recreational activities except where the main activity is the exhibition of a cave
·         to the public'.


Yours sincerely

Department for Culture, Media and Sport




a cave?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: maldenny
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:28 PM

The Trogloditic Folk Festival!! ??

Mal


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Nemesis
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 06:29 AM

Oh, goody .. we all play our instruments whilst travelling to the silent demo on 27th January -- demo's on the move too?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: clansfolk
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 06:52 AM

Town centres across the UK could be brought to a stand still - vehicles filled with musicians handing out leaflets, form a circle through the town/city/village - if they are "unable to proceed" due to the vehicle infront stopped for lights etc.. (or the muso's vehicles in front of them) - vehicle would be classed as moving - no obstuction offence either!!!

anyone got a date???????


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: clansfolk
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 07:23 AM

Most of old Folkies will be taking to our "Bathchairs" (wheelchairs) - very soon anyway - so wheel(sic) be OK!!!!!!!

Pete - the Folkasaurus........


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: gnomad
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 01:08 PM

Sledges when in season, and where can we find one of those cross-chanel hovercraft that are about to (have recently?) been made redundant?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: vectis
Date: 12 Jan 03 - 06:50 PM

you'll never make yourself heard above the din from hovercraft engines :-)


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: DMcG
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 04:47 AM

Does that matter? Is the offence in the singing or the entertaining? If its the singing, whether you can be heard or not doesn't make any difference.

I was stumped for a few minutes on Friday when I was told about someone at a club asked to mime to their own CD. I thought this might be allowed for a while, then realised its still an offence: miming is banned in its own right.

Thank heavens for consistancy!


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 04:59 AM

still trying to decipher the proposed legislation concerning recorded music.

under some parts of the bill it's exempt contadicted by other sections saying its not.

what about pub customers singing along to jukeboxes/ canned pub music?- that's illegal too- & going by above post- no-one can even mime to it!

what next?- No talking? 'and sit up straight & fold your arms that boy at the back!!'


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: DMcG
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 05:21 AM

I believe mime is banned under "performance of a play" and/or "entertainment of a similar description to" live music, recorded music or dance.


As far as recorded music is concerned, if playing a CD is incidental to the main activity it is not banned, but if it played as an activity its own right it is banned. So, for, example, if your CD was played as incidental music in the background at a pub it is allowed, but if people turn up to listen to you and you play that same CD instead of singing, it is licensible.

No, it doesn't make sense to me either. I guess it is trying to make DJs need a licence.


Reading through the list of licensable activities, I suddenly noticed that comedians do not appear to need a licence (unless their act can be construed as a play "with improvisation"). They can't sing a comic song at the end, though.


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Subject: RE: An exemption that could sort things
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 08:33 AM

Here is a post I put up on the Online forum about the Licensing Bill, which came out of the online petition (which right at this point has ...48994 Total Signatures!).

So I thought I'd put it here as well, because I think we are in danger of thinking too negatively and defensively, and losing sight of the possibility that this could all work out very much for the best.

When this whole issue became a matter for discussion a couple of years ago we were thinking and talking about how reform of the law cold make things better. Thanks to this cack-handed Bill we've switched our attention to pointing out how it is likely to make things worse.

But we should never forget that the existing situation which we are finding ourselves defending is pretty dire. Maybe we should focus on how the Bill could be changed in a way that would actually make things a lot better.

So far as most of the things we are worried about this could be achieved - by a simple addition of a clause in the Exemptions section of the Bill, which is at Schedule 2 Part 2.

I suggest something on these lines:

"The provision of any entertainment or entertainment facilities or participation in such activities where the primary purpose is for the mutual enjoyment of performers is not to be regarded as the provision of regulated entertainment for the purposes of this Act."

If we had this (and it is in fact in line with the "promises" that Kim Howells has been throwing out every time he gets cornered), it would mean that we could at last make music anywhere where the proprietors had no objection, so long as we didn't make excessive noise, or cause excessive crowding. Pubs, cafes, fish and chip shops... We'd have the same freedom in this respect as people in Scotland or Ireland. Informal music could flourish in a way it has never been allowed to in our lives and the lives of our parents and grandparents.

(A similar approach could be taken to deal with the worries about school performances, for example - additional clauses in the exemption section.)


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: ET
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 09:26 AM

This wretched bill seems to have got through the House of Lords reatively unscaithed. There is an amendment about trying to protect those who work in pubs from working 24 hours a day 9 days a wekk and thats about it.    Remaining includes "premises includes any place....to a field is a premise" and music includes singing and musical instruments or any combination of both.

Its ok having petitions etc and much protest from musicians but if you talk about this to memembers of the public they are generally horrified. How can we spread our concerns further?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 09:36 AM

& why is there nothing in the news about it?

or is the media content to keep fobbing the population off with stories of 'mass distraction'?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: DMcG
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 09:41 AM

I must admit I don't fully understand the process involved in legislation here. Almost every amendment raised in the Lords Committee Stage was withdrawn (many having been declared to be a 'probing' amendments) with a promise/threat that they would "return to the matter" having studied the Ministers comments.

There is certainly a Report stage in the Lords, looking at other bills.

Can anyone provide a simple guide to the legislation process to explain when the Lords will return to it and how the various Lord's stages fit with the Commons stages?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 10:34 AM

I would hope this site might have this kind of explanation. Perhaps it does. I suppose we should study it. And if the answers aren't there in comprehensible form, use the "contact" part of the site to ask them and if need them,,keep asking them.

Or of course (or I really mean "and"), if you haven't written to your MP recently (http://www.faxyourmp.com/), send his or her a communication specifically asking that question.

But I still think an amendment along the lines I suggested just above is probably a very realistic way forward. Non-confrontational, and gives them an easy way out, which doesn't involve any u-turns or loss of face. Why, all Kim Howells has to do is come up with that one, and he could find himself, improbable as it seems right now, as some kind of folk hero. "Well of course this was what I intended to do all along - surely that should have been obvious from what I said on that Mike Harding show."


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: DMcG
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 10:45 AM

This page, on the site McGrath suggested, seems to have to info about the various stages the bill goes through.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: IanC
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 10:45 AM

Though I'd admit it's better than most, Kevin, it really only protects sessions etc. and would have no effect as far as Morris Dancers, Carol Singers, Mummers etc. were concerned.

If it does this, it is no better than the amendment put forward by Baroness Blackstone that, for the purpose of the bill, bellringing doesn't count as music.

What we need here is a bit of solidarity, not "solutions" which, however good, exempt some people at the expense of others.

I'd rather go to Gaol.

:-)


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 03:45 PM

If I understand it correctly, and ET may correct me, if an amendment is put to the vote and defeated, convention requires that it be not put again in the same form. If it is withdrawn, it may be put again in the same form. I hope that makes sense to those who are not (UK)constitutional lawyers: I am not but I am having to teach the subject so I am learning!

The "please yourself" amendment is not politically workable because it will meet the objcetion fromthe public that it would de-restrict the electric jam as well: get 45 talentless musicians each with a Marshall stack and a house PA rig all trying to play "Wild Thing" and you'd deafen every living thing within 5 miles. In theory the existing law on noise nuisance enables this sort of noise nuisance to be controlled but in practice it does not work. I know because I bought a house between what were two nice quiet pubs but now both have featured electric entertainment usually DJs or the talentless musicians who cannot play without their backing tracks and rigs. If I (a lawyer, and one of the pushy middle classes) cannot get the local authority to stop it, what use is the existing law?

What might work is the "acoustic exemption" which was put in the Lords. Mind you I made the first draft of it, so I am biased. If you want to go for any sort of electric exemption it will in reality have to provide an effective means to control electric noise. Ironically, I like loud electric music, but not causing public disorder in my village.

The only alternative I see is, instead of an exemption, a deemed licence, importing some sort of noise limits.

But this is only music in pubs. Other sorts of music in other places, and, more importantly (in a sort of paleontological sense) is avoiding the smae harm to folk dance that the bill may cause to folk music, and I ahve no idea how to draft that...


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 09:37 AM

Actually that amendment I suggested would cover "Morris Dancers, Carol Singers, Mummers etc" so long as their primary purpose was mutual enjoyment, which I'd have thought is normally the case. (There's no mention of "music" as such.)

And it was just words of the top of my head, and there's no im plication on my lat that they are the last words. The point I was making was that it wouldn't take much of an amendment to drastically change the impact of the Bill from something that is restrictive to something that would have the effect of significantly expanding our freedom.

As for the mass electrified jam problem, that should be dealt with by noise and nuisance rules, in the very same way as an overamplified Televised Rock Concert, for example. The laws for that are already in place.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: clansfolk
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 12:58 PM

Quote from Kim Howells in the "The Stage"


Some of the more unhelpful rumours that have been circulating (and which I see everyday in correspondence from members of parliament writing on behalf of concerned constituents) relate to live music performances that might be licensable under the new regime. I therefore categorically state that the following will not be licensable:

1) church bell ringers practising and the testing of equipment in a music shop - but not demonstrations of new equipment by a paid artists??

2) studio recording sessions and rehearsals at a practice studio or in a private house (to which the general public are not admitted) haven't heard this one

3) school concerts where the general public are not admitted n
music lessons - what about admission charges and who is not General public?? - Parents and teachers relations???

4) singing 'happy birthday' in a restaurant - As this has been done under the current restictions what changes have been made to stop a recurrence?

5) musicians paid to perform at a private party - including a wedding - for which those attending are not charged and to which
the general public are not admitted. wasn't sure about this

I have sought here to address the most ridiculous claims made by whose who purport to be campaigning on behalf of musicians but who are in fact diverting them from the more realistic and positive
aspects of the bill.


It's great to hear all the above exemptions - if only Kim would tell us where to find them and not add so many provisos, "as long as, if they don't etc" and as long as he's on the bench when prosicutions are brought - so he can exlain what he meant and not what he wrote......


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Jan 03 - 01:24 PM

I think he makes them up as he goes along.

As was demonstrated on the Mike Harding show, where in effect he said that sessions where no payment was involved would have no problems, it seems that anytime he is asked about a situation where the Bill, as it exists at present, would cause unreasonable restrictions, he says that that particular activity is not going to be hit.

I think these should be treated as promises that he will be introducing clauses in the "exceptions" part of the bill which will ensure that this is the case, and attempts made to hold him to these verbal pledges.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 02:45 PM

i was talking last night with a folkie friend who has astronomy as her other hobby. the conversation set me thinking about the 'moving vehicle' exemption from needing a PEL for live music.

the whole of England & Wales [+the rest of the world!] are perpetually 'moving' through space & time, as are all of the buildings-including pubs.

if we interpret the 'silly bill's' wording to re-define pubs as 'moving vehicles' then none will need a PEL at all [at all!]

could this be the ultimate solution?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: DMcG
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 02:58 PM

I've just had this very interesting response from my MP:


Dear Mr. McGlade

Further to our exchange of emails on EDM 331 I would advise that I have just
written to Dr. Kim Howells to ask for the current situation relating to
entertainment in 'non-pub' venues e.g. church halls, community centres, etc.
and I will let you know his response.

A letter from a Minister, like the one from Dr. Howells, must be taken into
account in Court when considering this law.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Beard MP



I do not think Dr Howells is likely to say anything startling, but this final sentence may make a great deal of difference. Every one better hold onto your letters!


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 03:08 PM

And do get all the specific questions to him now, that you wish to know the answers to, via your MP.

All of the questions from bell-ringing to locked pianos and what is dance floor, village dancing, sessions, parties, house concerts, EVERTHING.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 03:25 PM

"A letter from a Minister, like the one from Dr. Howells, must be taken into account in Court when considering this law."

Any lawyers out there who can say if that is in fact true? It goes against what I've seen written. I know that when there was a prosecution against Lady Chatterley's Lover, under the then new Obscene Publications Act, Roy Jenkins who as Home Secretary had had the central role in shaping this Act and getting it through Parliament was not allowed to tell the jury that the prosecution went quite against his intentioins and his interpretation oif the Act.

Of course it might be that that was because he was talking to the jury, and maybe there is a different rule for judges and magistrates.

Can anyone enlighten us? If what that MP says is the truth, Kim Howells words in respect of sessions and singarounds in premises without entertainment licences might be of crucial importance: "As long as money isn't changing hands, then there's no reason why they should have to have a licence."


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 05:26 PM

Not my words, but the result of a little research.

It will be seen that a ministerial statement IN PARLIAMENT may under the rule in Pepper -v- Hart assist in the construction of a statute that is otherwise ambiguous or of unclear meaning in context. Asserting that a minster's assurance in correspondence governs otheriwse clear statutory words? Put it this way, don't expect me to do it on a contingency basis!

Long quote follows: -

EXTRINSIC AIDS
Royal/Law Commission reports and White Papers
These have been admissible since the case of Davis v. Johnson [1978] AC 264, which said that "the report may be used to identify the mischief the legislation is intended to remedy but not to construe the enacting words") and other travaux préparatoires providing (Fothergill v. Monarch Airlines Ltd. [1980] 3 WLR 209) that it is material in the public domain clearly intended to be the first stage in the legislative process and, if the document is a treaty, that a literal construction is in conflict with the purpose of the treaty, or if the legislation is ambiguous.

However, documents released under the 30 year rule may not be used (JH Rayner v. DTI 1987, affirmed by Pepper v. Hart), since it is unreasonable to allow secret documents to be used in court.

Hansard
Hansard has been officially used (judges used it before this case unofficially) since the case of Pepper v. Hart, in which the question was whether the taxable benefit of providing the children of teachers with free education should be taxed at the nominal extra cost to the school, or at the normal cost of the school's fees. It was decided using Hansard that it should be taxed at the lower cost.

In this case it was said that if Hansard "clearly discloses the mischief aimed at or the legislative intention lying behind the ambiguous or obscure words", then it is an admissible aid to construction.

However, it was said that "I cannot foresee any statement other than the statement of the minister or other promoter of the Bill is likely to meet the criteria".

In addition it was said that "if a minister clearly states the effect of a provision and there is no subsequent relevant amendment to the Bill or withdrawal of the statement it is reasonable to assume that Parliament passed the Bill on the basis the provision would have the stated effect".

Pepper v. Hart means that the will of Parliament will more frequently be followed, thus reinforcing parliamentary supremacy.

However, it the inevitable result is increased costs as more research is conducted into Hansard and other sources.

Hansard is, of course, not binding on the courts - there is no reason why they should not ignore the intent of Parliament unless it is expressed in a statute. Hansard has the same legal status as any other interpretative aid.

The question arises whether Pepper v. Hart affects stare decisis, that is to say whether a court can overrule an otherwise binding case on the basis of Hansard showing that the previous construction was wrong. If this question were to be answered in the affirmative, magistrates courts could overrule the House of Lords.

Common sense might suggest that incorrect interpretations should be overruled, but there is the issue of separation of powers - according to the traditional doctrine of the separation of powers the judiciary must be free to reject the Hansard material, since it is nothing more than an interpretative aid, which were it to be binding, would make Parliament both legislator and interpretor: legislation has traditionally been seen as an abstract document not tailored to particular situtations, but rather being a list of abstract principles interpreted and applied in individual cases by the judiciary. Taken this way, to give Hansard such as status would apparently contravene HA Hayek's conception of the rule of law.

On the other hand it seems rather futile for Parliament to make laws if the courts are not going to enforce them according to its intention.

Other aids
Dictionary definitions - this implies a literalist construction of statutes, since a purposive approach would seek to enforce what Parliament intended, rather than enforce the meaning of what it said.
Legal textbooks
Treaties (e.g. EU treaties), where the law was intended to enact the treaty
EU directives


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 09:09 PM

I'd put more faith in Richard than I would in that MP. Or Kim Howells.

The moral is, get it in writing.

Would a response by a minister to a question in Parkiament count as a ministerial statement? I'd think not.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jan 03 - 09:10 PM

And by "get it in writing" I mean in writing in the Act.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Jan 03 - 02:49 PM

Oral Reply by Minister in Parliament just fine - but remember, only if the Act is ambiguous: no such statement can override teh clear words of an act.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 08:51 AM

I hope that you will forgive me for also not typing out the long introduction to this? I have also attached an earlier Radio 4 interviw, where Howells defended the licensing of chuches etc........on public safety.

BBC Radio 3 Money Matters 26 January 2003

I started by asking Kim Howells why, since pubs clubs, churches and many other venues had been managing perfectly well for all theses years without a licensing charge, he felt the need for change?

KH Well, you say they have managed quite well, of course that's only if you have two musicians in the licensed premises. If you want to have three, or you want to have a quartet, you've got to get an entertainment's licence. At the moment these can be very, very expensive, and what we're going to do is to try to ensure that in the future, it'll be very easy for a licensee, whether it's a pub, a restaurant or a night-club, or whatever. Simply to go along to the Licensing Authority – pay one fee, which will be very strictly controlled by the Secretary of State, and that will include, if the licensee wants it err, permissions to put on entertainments. And that gives much more scope for more musicians to be playing in those kinds of venues and we think that this is going to strengthen the number of venues, and deepen quality too.

But of course many of the venues will say that they simply can't afford this, so what are they supposed to do?

KH Well at the moment of course, we've head horror stories of venues, especially in central London who have to pay thousands of pounds for an entertainments licence. Now we're gonna set a fee that is going to be between £100 and £500, which is a lifetime fee for a premises licence and a annual charge, if you like of £100 - £150, so these are hugely reduced costs. And it should put the whole thing on an even keel, people will know where they are and there will be real consistency there.

OK, I'm going to bring in Robb Johnson there, who is manger of Irregular Records, a songwriter and guitarist but more importantly for us today. a performer. Who goes around doing exactly the sorts of things that a lot of people are saying will maybe stop. Robb you are not particularly happy about all of this, are you?

RJ No I think its going to do away with a very important part of the spectrum of the musical life of this country. It's going to hit ordinary people hardest. It's gong to stop creativity in ordinary people. A lot of the venues I play in, I feel sure, I think the minister is being rather economical with the truth, when he says, simply going along to Licensing Authority, like just like popping down to the chip shop, it is bound to be more complicated than that. And I'm sure that a vast number of venues are not going to go simply along to their Licensing Authorities. And a lot of the gigs that people in this sort of music play, they are benefits or they're informal occasions they're privately organised gigs, That's going to stop.

KH Can I ask you a question? Why would a licensee, who regularly has two musicians playing in his or her pub, not want to tick a box or fill in a form which says, 'when I have my licence renewed I would like to have the right to stage music in it. At no extra cost, this is the misinformation that's gone around –

Didn't you say there was a fee of £100 - £500?

KH No at the moment, if you want a licence to sell alcohol, that's one licence which you pay for. If you want to have music, you have to go along to a different Licensing Authority and ask for that particular entertainment licence and that costs you more money. What we are going to do is make one Licensing Authority who will issue you with a licence to sell alcohol, plus a licence for music if you so desire it. What id the big problem with that, if it does not cost anymore? I don't understand this argument, you see it seems to me that you're the victim of misinformation, quite frankly.

I want to more on to churches and cathedrals and how this affects them. Richard Chartres Bishop of London, you have been quite vocal already of, not least in the House of Lords about the effect this Bill will have on you and the churches. Just tell me what the position is now and how it is going to change?

RC Well, as I understand that although the intention, as the minister has said of much of this Bill is deregulation. One of the respects in which it is going to extend regulation is it is going to demand that churches, outside London should come into the licensing regime, in a way that they haven't before.
And the question I've got is. What's the evidence of abuse, which has persuaded the Government to remove the exemption that Parliament provided as recently as 1982?

Kim Howells?

KH There is no evidence of abuse, and we are trying very hard to ensure that all churches, including those in London will be exempted. What we've got to do is try and find a way of doing it properly.

RC I do appreciate the difficulty of finding the right sort of language, That why I suggest the phrase 'a place of public religion worship', which I understand has already been 'trialed' in the local government legislation. It relates to rating relief and it does seem a phrase that is tested by the courts and has some kind of substance to it. And I can understand the desire to avoid any kind of abuse of that sort of privilege and exemption, but that does seem to be a phrase that has some legal force to it.

KH It sounds very good to me and Bishop your colleague in the House, Baroness Blackstone is still engaged in the committee stage of the Bill. And she is very much hoping that something can be brought forward at the report stage of the Bill to ensure that these changes are made.

Richard Chartres, you have done some sums on this, you feel that you know what the impact of this Bill is going to be on you?

RC Well I've been trying to do some very conservative calculations. It seem that to us alone with 16,000 venues countrywide, it is going to be a considerable additional cost. And also of course a disincentive to PCCs who are volunteer to make their place available to the area that I am particularly concerned about, which is that borderline between professional and amateur. Which churches so often do provide the launch pad for them. So the conservative calculations that I have made show it will probably cost us in the initial year, a couple of million, but I am open to correction on that and it is extremely difficult to work out precisely what the figures would be.

It is a lot of money, Kim Howells?

KH It certainly is a lot of money and that is why I want to make sure that churches are exempted from having to pay it.

Culture minister Kim Howells there, with some good news then, possibly for Richard Chartres, Bishop of London? Though I have a suspicion that things aren't going to be quite as simple as that. Thanks also to Robb Johnson of Irregular Records.

The opposition to this part of the licensing Bill is raging, and will no dim by the looks of it, until concessions and amendments are made. But the Government are holding steady and all indications suggest that the Bill will go through, unaltered………….. ENDS.

Dr Kim Howells on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme 26 November 2002.

JH A law has been proposed that could, it is said be the kiss of death for amateur choirs, coral societies and orchestras, throughout the country. Churches used for more than 5, and church halls used for more than 5 public performances a year will have to pay for an entertainment licence, costing up to $500 per performance.

Well Rosemary Hardy is the secretary of the Ditchling choral society at Holy Trinity church in Cuckfield West Sussex, hello to you.

RH Hello to you, good morning.

JH You're worried about this, I gather?

RH Yes, we are worried because obviously – some churches may not obtain licenses, if they don't really think its worth it and that will then deprive both choirs of venues and orchestras, and the churches themselves of the revenues from the concert lettings.

[Comments on background singing]
JH I take it that you are going to carry on are you?

RH Oh yes, most certainly.

JH So you will be able to afford it?

RH Well. I certainly hope we will be. Obviously one of the problems will be that no doubt the cost of the licence will be passed on to the choirs and orchestras, that normally sing or perform in churches. And that will no doubt be passed on to the audience, through the increase in ticket prices.

JH Well, thank you for that and enjoy the rehearsal.

Well, Kim Howells – (laughs) he is described here as the Licensing Minister, anyway he is the Minister of Culture, Media and Sport and is responsible for all of this.
Why on earth! Have we got to have yet another regulation Mr Howells?

KH Well its not another regulation, err, it's a complete re-vamp of the way that licensing works in this country.

JH Even worse then?

KH Well, its not even worse John, well, where, one of the things we are doing and the most important thing we are doing is we are lifting the limits on when pubs and licensed premises and so on, can open, its err, a huge job.

JH This is not to do with pubs, this is to do with churches and church halls and they are going to have to have a performing licence - 500 quid a time!

KH No, its not £500 a time. No we are setting fees in bands of about £110 to £500. And it's a one off licence, for the lifetime of that premises.

JH But why do you need anything? I mean I don't know what the point of it is, this is the thing?

KH Well, I will try and explain it to you.

JH Come on.

KH The churches in London, for example have been subject to a licensing regime for 40 years. There are big churches that hold very big concerts for profit. And if something was to go wrong inside one of those churches, there was a fire or something else happened, the Local Authorities that have to inspect those premises would really be in trouble and they have to be paid for those functions. .That's why there has to be a licence - its to do with public safety.

JH But aren't we back to the old 'sledgehammer and a nut' thing here? It's hard to think, I don't know many Brownie nativity plays in church halls, where they have had big problems and had to inspected for Health and Safety

KH And they won't be charged a licence – look the Sec……

JH But - look - sorry they will, if they have more than 5 performances a year.

KH Err- no - look, are you doing this legislation or me?

JH Well, I am hoping you will explain it.

KH And I am trying to. There will not be a licence imposed on a, err, on a Brownie carol concert at a church, this is a nonsense. Err, the Secretary of State sets the fees for license, centrally and she can order that fees be waived, under certain circumstances and we have absolutely no intention whatsoever of stopping people having carol services or brownie festivals or anything else.

JH Yes – but you say, "can be waived" so therefore it must exist, in order to be waived in the first place, How many performances – is it true that they can only have 5, without having to go through this licensing nonsense?

KH Well. How many churches have 5 carol services every year?

JH Well, it might be different things, maybe a choral society, might be a nativity play, might be all sorts of things.

KH Err, well, I am saying if there is a carol service, err or a or err choral society practising or whatsoever, and its in conjunction with its religious function, then it won't be charged a fee.

JH Well, we will see how it all works out, Kim Howells many thanks.

ENDS


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: clansfolk
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 05:39 AM

Comedians unless playing an instrument (according to new letter being sent from MPs) and other forms of street entertainment are not included - haven't seen new proforma yet but will post when I get a copy - several people who have received it say "they're not sure what all the fuss is about now!" "it doesn't seen that bad a law......"


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 07:49 AM

A pro-forma letter from an MP doesn't carry any weight whatsoever in a court of law.

What matters is what is actually written down in the Act, and to a lesser extent what is written down in official guidelines sent out from the Ministry of Silly Walks.

(And if that is the pro-forma letter I've seen on the net, anyone who is impressed by it that way must be very naive indeed.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 08:02 AM

KH The churches in London, for example have been subject to a licensing regime for 40 years. There are big churches that hold very big concerts for profit. And if something was to go wrong inside one of those churches, there was a fire or something else happened, the Local Authorities that have to inspect those premises would really be in trouble and they have to be paid for those functions. .That's why there has to be a licence - its to do with public safety.

KH It certainly is a lot of money and that is why I want to make sure that churches are exempted from having to pay it.

I wonder who now will be paying it? Or which of the above views will appear in the new pro-forma?


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: clansfolk
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 08:50 AM

Mc Grath - people who are not directly involved maybe "naive" - but a well presented document "from the house" pointing out only the "good points" of the proposals, ridiculing outlandish remarks made, and supporting their own claims with relevant sections of the exemptions - all this supported by the person's own MP is a very powerful weapon!

Let's not forget many of the things that are being quoted as being effected by the proposals are already happening illegally (without a required license) e.g. Morris Dancing, carol singing, sing arounds in pubs (without a license)etc. and although I feel this would be the ideal opportunity to exempt such activities - they are not an argument that they are being introduced in the new proposals.

NB I am not in favour of all the proposals, the underhanded way that the government is dealing with the complaints, and will continue to do everything I can to resolve the situation by whatever legal means I can - just pointing out that the governments dealing with request to MPs to sign EDM 331 IS having an effect on recipients of the letters - naive or not.........

Pete


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 09:48 AM

Good point - but cooks can describe their dish as being the finest dairy farm ingredients, heated slowly of a bed of the finest organic stonground produce. Up to the point where it is placed on the table, and you see that it is cheese on toast................

I mean to say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The words of the Bill are just as they are, no matter how cunningly presented the intentions of the Bill may be stated.

And they are cunningly presented. Perhaps those who may be so easliy swayed should question why The Times leader described Howells and his Bill as an illogical wet blanket?

Or why the JCHR are questioning the legality of the Bill?

Or why the Bill is going to be re-drafted because the church objects?

Or why satellite TV is exempt because the 'Leisure Industry' ie, big money, objects?

Or why the Association of Chief Police Officers object to this exemption on crime and disorder grounds but are ignored?

The following from The Portsmouth Evening News 30/01/03

On the day England sent Denmark packing in their second-round World
Cup tie police were called to 24 football related incidents.
Within hours of the June 15 win a brawl spilled out of the White
Hart pub and a series of disturbances broke out across Havant and
Waterlooville - despite a voluntary two hour pub closure.
The violence came eight days after 50 fans fought in North Street
outside the Five Bells following Englands win over Argentina.


Or why The Performing Lawyers query the wording of the Bill as being open to legal misinterpretation?

Or why The Lords criticize because the Bill is so badly worded and the Government bleats "That's not what we meant"?

Or why we're expected to simply trust local authorities who already treat existing legislation as 'a nice little earner' and have prosecuted for allowing people to 'sway'etc? http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/articles/two_in_a_bar16.shtml


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 09:58 AM

Dr Howells in a letter to Michael Portillo 14/03/02

However, under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 1964 a public entertainment licence is not required if music or dancing is performed by less than three performers on licensed premises i.e. the 'two in a bar rule'. The rule is intended to apply to public performances put on by a public house to entertain the public and should not prevent ordinary people singing together or dancing in public houses.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 10:16 AM

The distinction between something that is "put on by a public house", which would be licensable, and something which is "allowed to happen by a public house" which would noty be, is an interesting one. If only we could get it pinned down in such words in the Act or maybe the guidelines.


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Subject: RE: PELs: Exemptions?
From: clansfolk
Date: 01 Feb 03 - 10:19 AM

Note - you are preaching to the converted in my case!!

Simply pointing out that people have received what is to them a convincing explanation that on the surface quiet reasonable - two people who were worried enough to write to their MPs took the trouble to come back to me and show me the letters allowing me to explain the anomalies and what had been left out of the letter... How many will receive such letters and not think to take it any further????

Thursday at The Steamer showed that many folky's were not aware of the current laws let alone the new proposals - likewise several landlords in the area are misinformed - two quotes from the day....

"It's alright for sessions in pubs without a licence as long as everyone is sat down" - musician of 30years

"Jam sessions don't need a license - your OK" - Landlord of Blackpool Town Centre Pub where a weekly sessions is advertised.


Let's ensure the information that we give out isn't exaggerated to have more effect on the people we are trying get to support us - let Dr Kim do that in his comments - The actual proposals are, as has been said are enough to convince people..... No scare mongering just facts...............


Pete


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