I propose to take Questions Nos. 272 to 274, inclusive, together.
There are no proposals for legislation being prepared under the auspices of this Department where heads have not yet been approved by the Government. On 3 May 2000 the Government authorised me to arrange for the drafting of a bill containing a proposal to amend the Constitution in order to enable the State to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Drafting of this Bill is now under way. While I am not yet in a position to give a precise indication as to a time frame for publication, my Department continues to attach a high priority to this matter.
Particulars of proposed statutory instruments being prepared in, or under the auspices of this Department, are as follows. A Government order to be made under the Extradition Act, 1965, as amended, is being prepared in my Department. The main purposes of the order are to consolidate existing orders made under section 8(1) of the Act and to implement into domestic law international obligations undertaken by the State with respect to extradition in a comprehensive manner.
A Ministerial order to be made under section 4(3) of the Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act, 1991, is being prepared in my Department. The effect of this order will be to update the list of states which are contracting states for the purposes of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980, following a number of recent accessions to that Convention.
A statutory instrument – Diplomatic and Consular Fees Regulations, 2000 – which will consolidate and amend the Diplomatic and Consular Fees Regulations, 1982 to 2000, is also being prepared in my Department. The Diplomatic and Consular Fees Regulations set the fees to be charged for issuing passports and visas and for the provision of other consular services by this Department and by embassies and consulates abroad. There have been 13 amendments to the regulations since they were last updated and consolidated in 1982. Furthermore, many of the services, for example, those relating to ships and seamen, are no longer required. For these reasons it is proposed to make a simplified, more user-friendly consolidated version of the regulations.