Unit 1 | Delegated legislation (AQA)

Statutory instruments, by-laws and orders in council

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  • Created on: 26-04-12 13:26
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Delegated Legislation
This is where Parliament delegates (passes down) powers and responsibilities to other
bodies to make law.
There are 3 main forms of delegated legislation:
Orders in council
This refers to orders from the Privy Council which is a committee traditionally set up to advise the
monarch. It is composed of around 420 members including government ministers, leading members
of the opposition, judges and bishops.
Usually the orders are drafted by the government and approved by the Privy Council.
Examples include:
Dissolving Parliament before an election;
Complying with EU directives (e.g. The Consumer Protection Act 1987);
National emergencies (e.g. after 9/11 an order made it an offence to provide funds to anyone
involved in terrorism).
Statutory instruments
These are made by government ministers in their particular departments (home secretary, justice
secretary etc).
These regulations are often used to update existing laws, for example to increase minimum wage, or
current discussions on speed limit increase.
They are also used as commencement orders ­ stating when a new Act will start to take effect.
By laws
These are laws issued by local authorities (councils) and public corporations (e.g. London
Underground) to respond to local conditions and needs. For example local alcohol bans, dog fowling
(Dog Fowling of Land Act 1996), smoking on busses (before national ban) etc.
The authority is given to local councils via an act of Parliament called the parent act (eg. Local
Government Act 1972)
By laws must be approved by the relevant government minister (e.g. transport minister).
By laws are enforceable in the law courts and are usually punished with fines.

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Advantages of delegated legislation
Saves time
It is quicker than the Parliamentary process; it allows Parliament to concentrate on more important
Responsive to local needs
Local councillors know more about their constitution than Parliament would, so they can respond
better to the local needs, demands and problems.
Specialist knowledge and technical expertise
Allows for experts to draft laws in their own field; government ministers have technical expertise in
their particular areas.…read more

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Control over delegated legislation
Control by parliament
Parliament will pass an act, giving power to other bodies to make laws. This is called the parent act
(or enabling act).
Therefore Parliament has a degree of control in ensuring that the body does not make regulations
which are Ultra Vires (outside of its powers). The act will require regulations to be laid before
There is a select committee on statutory instruments called the Scrutiny Committee.…read more

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There are two types of ultra vires:
Procedural, where the procedure followed was incorrect, e.g.
Aylesbury Mushroom Case 1972 ­ The delegated legislation was procedural ultra vires because it
failed to follow the Parent Act, in that the people who were being affected weren't questioned.
And substantive, where the content is unreasonable, e.g.
R v Wood 1855 ­ The Public Health Act 1948 gave local authorities the power to make by-laws
requiring occupants of houses to remove rubbish from outside of their homes.…read more


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