Delegated Legislation


What is Delegated Legislation?

Delegated Legislation is a law made by some person or a body other than Parliament. There are three types of delegated legislation. Orders in Council, Statutory Instruments and By-Laws.

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Orders in Council

  • Made by the Queen and the Privy Council.
  • They can be used to make laws quickly under the Emergency Powers Act 1920.
  • The can also be used to implement EU Directives under the European Committee's Act 1972. 
  • Used for amending acts, for example the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
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Statutory Instruments

  • Made by Government Ministers for their specialist area, for example the Minister for Transport will deal with train fares.
  • Statutory Instruments affect the entire of one country.
  • Over 3,000 statutory instruments (SI'S) are made per annum (year).
  • Regulated by the Statutory Instruments Act 1946.
  • They allow Ministers to use special knowledge to implement laws, for example the Home Secretary can implement codes of practice under PACE 1984.
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  • Made by local authorities and public corporations, for example Eastbourne Borough Council / Worthing County Council.
  • The procedure for passing local authority by-laws is started by the local authority and then confirmed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
  • They are made in response to local problems for example parking, control of activities for example on beaches, drinking in parks by tramps.
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Controls by Parliament

  • Some Enabling Acts require AFFIRMATIVE RESOLUTION from Parliament before laws can be made, for example the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act can be regulated with the Minister's permission.
  • Most SI's are subhect to affirmative procedure and they are laid as a draft first for fourty days. If they remain unquestioned or ignored, they will be passed by both houses within twenty eight days of that.
  • The Scrunity Committee review it and draw attention to those that need to have specific and special consideration.
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Controls by the Courts

  • Procedural Ultra Vires: This is where a public authority has not followed the correct procedures set out in the enabling act.
    AYLESBURY MUSHROOMS: The Minister of Labour did not consult Aylesbury's Mushroom Farmers about changing the regulations in the statute, therefore his amendment to the statute was VOID.
  • Substantative Ultra Vires: Where the Minister has gone beyond the powers of the enabling act.
    R v HOME SECRETARY EX PARTE FIRE BRIDAGE UNION: They exceeded their powers to build an entire new act from another.
  • Unreasonableness: When the decision from the Minister was just too absurd and unreasonable.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Del Leg.


  • Saves time, only passes fifty acts a year.
  • Flexible. Not always required to take the normal procedure.
  • Allows experts to make rules in specific areas.
  • Allows quick laws to be passed due to the Emergency Act.
  • Easily revoked if it causes problems.


  • Undemocratic - made by unelected people.
  • Large amount of delegated legislation makes it hard to regulate.
  • Affirmative Resolution is not always the procedure taken. MP's are "too busy".
  • Lack of Scrunity. The Scrunity committee are often ignored despite their importance. They actually take time to read the statutes.
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