Delegated Legislation

Outline of delegated legislation, control of deleated legislation, advantages and disadvantages of delegated legisltion and reasons for delegating.

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  • Created on: 18-05-09 14:35
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Delegated Legislation
Delegated Legislation
Delegated legislation, secondary legislation, is law not made by Parliament but has it's authority.
Authority is given in a Parent or Enabling act, which creates a framework for the delegated powers to
make more detailed law in that area. For example, the Local Governments Act (1972) allows local
authorities, such as district and county councils, to make bylaws. Similarly, the Access to Justice Act
(1999) allows the Lord Chancellor to alter aspects of state funding for legal cases.
Orders in Council are made by the Privy Council for a variety of purposes, including the regulation of
professional bodies. They are used when Statutory Instruments would be inappropriate i.e. when
transferring responsibilities between government departments. In times of emergency, when
Parliament is not sitting, the queen and Privy Council may make an Order under the Emergency Powers
Act (1920). These powers were used in the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 and the fuel crisis of
Statutory Instruments are the most common form of delegated legislation. Authority is given to
government departments and ministers to create regulations in their area of responsibility. For
example, the Minister of Transport has the authority under various Road Traffic Acts to make detailed
Road Traffic regulations.
Regulations are a good of updating primary legislation. For example the Health and Safety at Work Act
(1974) was updated through the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1997).
Statutory Instruments are used to bring European Union directives into English law. An example is the
Unfair Term in Consumer Contracts Regulations (1994) which implemented the directive aimed at giving
greater protection to consumers. They are also used to bring Acts of Parliament, or parts of it, into
affect by means of a commencement order.
Local authorities can make bylaws regarding parking, or ban drinking in public places. The congestion
charge in central London is an example. Public corporations can make bylaws, for example London
Undergrounds ban on smoking. All bylaws must be approved by the relevant government minister.
Professional bodies also make delegated legislation, such as those contained in the Solicitors Act
(1974) empowering the Law Society to regulate the conduct of it's members.

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Delegated Legislation
Parliament has control when creating the Enabling Act as it sets limits on the delegated legislation.
Additionally the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee in the House of Lords can decide that
provisions in a bill to delegate legislative power are inappropriate. The report is presented to the
House of Lords before the committee stage but it has no power to amend the bill.
Some Acts require an affirmative resolution from Parliament.…read more

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Delegated Legislation
The main argument against delegated legislation is that it is undemocratic, because it is made by
unelected people rather than by Parliament. Most delegated legislation is made by civil servants in
relevant government departments rather than by minister who were originally delegated powers. Civil
servants are unaccountable to the electorate. This is not the case with byelaws as local authorities are
elected and accountable to the voters in their area.…read more

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Delegated Legislation
Reasons for delegating
Often the matter of legislation is very detailed and would be too time consuming for Parliament to
have to consider in full. If Parliament wants to make legislation dealing with a particular issue, the Act
sets out the basic scheme and the delegated legislation (which is made by the delegate) fills in some of
the detail.
Many matters are highly technical.…read more

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