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3. Advantages of Delegated Legislation
It saves Parliamentary time allowing MPs to deal with more important issues.
For example, the Education Reform Act 1988 introduced the whole of the National
Curriculum across 4 key stages for children between the ages of 5 and 16. It would
have taken MPs days merely to have read all the information (including details of the
content of each subject at every stage) and months to have discussed it.
It allows technical matters to be dealt with by experts. For example, the Air
Navigation Order 1995 contains 140 pages of highly technical rules governing the
flying of aircraft around the United Kingdom. Not even the government minister in
charge, never mind 650 MPs, will have had a full understanding of these issues.
It makes ministers consult with those who are closely affected by the new
regulations. For example the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1991 set
up a pay review body to decide teachers' wages. This body was instructed to
consult "local education authorities, bodies representing the interests of governors of
voluntary schools ... grant maintained schools ... bodies representing
schoolteachers" before deciding levels of pay and conditions of service.
It is flexible and allows the law to change quickly to respond to changing
circumstances. Orders in Council, for example, can be made to deal with
emergencies such as the fuel crisis, or the foot and mouth epidemic. In 1986 the
Food Protection (Emergency Provisions) Order was made and came into effect
within two hours, banning the movement or slaughter for food of certain sheep in
areas thought to have been affected by radioactive fallout from the explosion at
Chernobyl power station.
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Disadvantages of Delegated Legislation
It is argued that it is undemocratic, as laws are being made by government
ministers and other people, most of whom have not been elected, rather than by
Parliament as a whole. However, it can be argued that the Parent Act which
granted the powers to make law was made by Parliament. It can also be
argued that many bylaws are made by local authorities who have been elected.
The large volume of delegated legislation has been criticised.…read more