Policy & Resources took the four new pieces of legislation to the Assembly for approval: The Regulation of Fiduciaries, Administration Businesses and Company Directors, etc; The Protection of Investors; The Banking Supervision Law and The Financial Services Business (Enforcement Powers) Law. All received a similar amendment from Dawn Tindall, seconded by Chris Green, calling for their wording to be made ‘gender neutral’.
In the light of the broader anti-discrimination legislation due to be discussed later, Deputy Tindall said she considered this ‘the warm-up act’.
She referred to a law review article published in 2008 in relation to the end of the ‘masculine rule’ in the UK and Ireland, whereby ‘sexist language based on the norm that the norm of humanity is male’ was replaced, and she had been asking for these changes to be made
in local laws for almost two years.
While members supported the sentiment of the amendment, some felt that asking for the changes would delay the implementation of the laws still further.
Deputy Neil Inder invoked the guillotine rule, calling for a halt to the debate, and this was passed by two votes. He repeated the exercise for each of the three following law debates and succeeded each time.
Responding to the debate, P&R president Gavin St Pier said that while the intention of the amendment was well understood, it could not condone it because it would make no impact on the actual nature of the law.
The committee also said that it would delay the implementation of the law if it had to go and be redrafted and then have to come back for approval yet again. He had been told that it could take ‘seven man days’.
He added that it also had to be approved by Alderney and Sark’s government.
Deputy Tindall said that she herself had produced an amended version of the laws and it had not taken her very long.
HM Comptroller advised members that if the laws were amended, it was possible that they could return to the Assembly for the August meeting, and, should they be approved by Alderney and Sark, they were likely to be with the Privy Council in time for its November meeting.
The amendment was passed by 19 votes to 15 and the propositions, as amended, were also approved.
The pattern was repeated for the following three laws, with no additional debate, and as a result all four are now set to be revised to have gender neutral language used and come back to the Assembly in August for final ratification.