Delegated Legislation


Why does Parliament have to delegate its law making function?

Parliament rarely has enough time or expertise to make all the new laws or changes to exisitng laws, therefore it passes its law making funcion to another individual or body who is better equipped to make the relevant law.

Why do we need delegated legislation:

1) There is a shortage of Parliamentary time; in 2013 parliament passed 33 Acts of Parliament but 3291 delegated legislation was passed.

2) Parliament has a lack of technical expertise and lack of local knowledge, therefore it is better for Parliament to discuss the main principles and leave the details to those whith expert knowledge.

3) Ministers have the opportunity for further consultation which is important when dealing with technical matters.

4)Some enabling acts stipulate that consultation must take place before a regulation cn be created (i.e. discussion with interested parties before police Codes of Practice are amended under PACE 1984)

5) Legislation takes time to pass and in an emergency Parliament may not be able to pass a law quickly enough - needs to allow ministers to respond quickly to unforseen situations.

How does parliament delegate its law making functions:

Delegated Legislation can only be made with the authority of Parliament;

1) Parliament creates the enabling act/parent act,

2) The enabling act created the framework of the law,

3) and delegates power to others to make the law more detailed.

Enabling Act/Parent Act:

-It will have to go through the usual stages of becoming an act - Houses and Royal Assent.

-It contains a framework of the new law but allows some other body such as Government ministers or the local authority to add the detail to this framework.

-The parent act is usually very clear as to what law can be made and any procedures that have  to be followed - Aylesbury Mushroom Case 1972.

-The person or body given the power has best knowledge and resources to make the type of law:

a) A Government minister will be supported by a specialist civil service department who will have given him expert advise,

b) A Local authortity will have the knowledge needed to make local laws,

c) A train or bus company makes laws relating to their own property,

An example of an enabling act/parent act is the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which gives the Secretary of State the power to make delegated legislation.

Types of Delegated Legislation - 

Parliament passes an enabing act, which then gives another body the rights to create one of the following 3 types of delegated legislation:

1) Orders in Council - This is made by the Queen and the Privy Cpuncil in which has 420 members and is made up of the Prime minister, Government ministers, 2 archbishops, senior polititacians (from other parties), the royal family, and leading commonwealth appointments (usually about 3-4). This is a way of making law without having to go throught the entire Parliamentary process and good for emergency uses.

2) Statutory Instruments…


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