Statutory Instruments

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  • Created by: Trish
  • Created on: 08-05-10 15:27
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Parliament is the supreme law making body but sometimes it passes on the power to
make laws to other bodies. This is known as delegated legislation (DL). The framework
and power to do this is set out in the Parent Act (enabling Act). There are three types of
DL.
Statutory instruments are the most common type of DL, with around 3000 being made
per year. They are rules and regulations made by Government ministers who deal with
issues concerning their area of responsibility. Ministers use a Parent Act which broadly
sets out the law within which they can make statutory instruments.
One example was where the Lord Chancellor used powers in the Access to Justice Act
1999 to introduce new laws on legal funding. Education ministers also used statutory
instruments to introduce the National Curriculum under the Education Reform Act 1988.
Using the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Lord Chancellor was provided with the
power to create a statutory instrument that issued guidance for the JAC (Judicial
Appointments Commission) regarding the procedure for appointing judges. Another
statutory instrument was created using the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act
(SOCPA) 2005. The Secretary of State used this parent Act to regulate equipment that
could be used by the Serious Crime Agency. One further example of a statutory
instrument is shown in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006. This parent Act
allows Ministers to reduce or remove a burden resulting from an existing law. Using this
parent Act, Ministers could amend existing laws even when these laws did not allow for
them to do so. A burden may include a financial cost administrative inconvenience
obstacle of efficiency, productivity or profitability, or a sanction that affects a lawful
activity.

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