Delegated Legislation model answers

Model answers for the topic: Delegated Legislation

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Exemplar Answers Booklet
Caveat doctor: some of these answers are longer than can be produced in exam
Delegated Legislation
Using examples, describe and illustrate different forms of delegated legislation. (10)
Parliament is the ultimate lawmaking power in this country. However, it allows other people
to make laws on its behalf. In other words it gives authority to these people. This is known as
delegation. It is delegated legislation because it is the power to make new laws that it is
passing on. It does this through a Parent Act. For example the Fireworks Act 2003 gave the
secretary of state power to make the Firework Regulations in 2004.
There are three main types of delegated legislation. The first are statutory instruments. There
are over 3,000 of these each year. They are made by government ministers. For example,
the Education Reform Act 1988 identified three core subjects (Maths, English and Science),
and the other subjects which had to be taught as part of the national curriculum. The
Secretary of State for Education was then given powers to decide what should be taught in
each subject at each age. Similarly the Access to Justice Act 1999 gave the Lord Chancellor
power to decide which types of cases should be eligible for legal aid. He introduced statutory
instruments declaring that priority should be given to cases involving children, and to cases
where a person is at risk of a loss of life or liberty. Thirdly, a Road Traffic Act introduced
compulsory helmets for motorcyclists. It gave power to the Minister of Transport to decide
the types of helmets that would have to be worn.
The second type of delegated legislation is bylaws. Here authority is given to local councils or
other public bodies to make laws for their area. The Dog Fouling Act 1996, for example, gave
authority to local councils to introduce bylaws punishing dog owners for allowing their dogs to
foul public places. Similarly the Local Government Acts of 1972 and 1982 have been used by
local authorities to ban the use of rollers, skateboards, wheels, and other mechanical
contrivances that cause danger or nuisance to other people in the streets.
Among the public bodies given the power to make laws are the public utilities, such as the
water and electricity boards. This is necessary to enable them to dig up land and charge
people for their services. Other public bodies such as London Underground or the British
Airways Authority have been given powers, for example to ban smoking on their property.

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The last type of delegated legislation is Orders in Council. The Emergency Powers Act was
passed in 1920 to give the monarch and the Privy Council, which is made up of past and
present government ministers, powers to make laws in emergencies, or when Parliament is not
sitting. These powers were used in emergencies such as the fuel crisis in 2000 to allow the
army to make sure fuel was available for the emergency services when petrol depots were
being blockaded.…read more

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The courts exercise control through a process known as judicial review. This occurs when
judges are asked to review the delegated legislation and decide whether or not it is lawful.
Firstly, they can declare the delegated legislation to be ultra vires. This means that the body
acted beyond the powers given to it in the Parent Act. For example, Fulham Corporation was
given the power to build public washing facilities. It built a laundry. This was ultra vires as it
went beyond their powers.…read more

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A final advantage is that 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.…read more


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