delegated legislation


Delegated legislation revision

To ‘delegate’ legislation is to pass on the law making power to another person or body. The outline of the intended legislation and power is set out in the enabling act. An example of an enabling Act is the Local Government Act 1972, which allows fir local authorities to create by laws. There are three forms of delegated legislation; by law, statutory instruments and orders in council.

Orders in council are made by the Privy Council. They are commonly used when the use of a statutory instrument would be inappropriate. For example, they were used to transfer power from members of the UK government to the dissolved assembly of Scotland and Wales. They are also used in matter of national emergency when Parliament is not sitting under the Emergency Powers Act 1920 or when dealing with foreign affairs. An example of this is the Afghanistan Order 2001, which made is a criminal offence to make funds available to Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban. Orders in council make is easier to make specific changes to laws, for example, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, an order in council was used to reclassify cannabis as an illegal drug. Though orders in council can be seen as undemocratic as it can seem to allow for Government to pass laws without scrutiny or debate.

Another form of delegated legislation is statutory instruments, this is the most common form of delegated legislation with 3662 made in 2007. They are often referred to as ‘orders’ or ‘regulations’. Statutory instruments are made by Government ministers with specialist knowlwdge in that area as Parliament may not possess the necessary specialist knowledge. An example of this is the Traffic signs regulations 2002, this made restrictions on the size and colour of road signs. This was made by the minister for transport under the Road Traffic Act 1998. Statutory instruments are also used to update laws as this is faster than passing them through the houses of parliament. For example, if Parliament wished to increase the fine for a criminal offence they are likely to do this using a statutory instrument. They are often made in the form of commencement orders this allows the government to specify when it shall come into force. Another use of statutory instruments is to implement European Union directives in English law. For example, the unfair terms in consumers contracts regulations Act 1994 was made for the protection of consumer rights.

The last form of delegated legislation is by laws. These are made by local authorities and other public bodies e.g. county councils. This is the most democratic for of delegated legislations local authorities are elected by the public. They do not apply to the whole country only that specific geographical area, for example, if a county council made a bylaw it is only applicable I that county. In many areas you will see signs about a fine give to anyone who does not clean up their dog’s faeces, this is


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