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Delegated Legislation

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Delegated Legislation A) Describe how the system of delegated legislation operates B) Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such legislation, and consider whether or not the controls are effective. Delegated Legislation is used to create the detailed rules of many statutes created by parliament. When statutes are passed, they only lay down a basic framework for the law - so they often need to be delegated to government departments, local authorities, or public or nationalized bodies, which oversee the day to day operation of the legislation. When the legislation is delegated to these institutions, the statute is known as an enabling act, and the delegated legislation has the same legal force and effect as the Act of Parliament under which it is enacted. There are three types of delegated legislation - Statutory instruments are made by government departments, Bye-laws are created by local authorities and public or nationalized bodies such as British Rail, which still need to be agreed by central government, and Orders in Council, which are made by the government in times of crisis (eg: the commandeering of the QE2 as a Hospital ship during the Falklands War in 1982) ...read more.


Firstly, parliament can at any time revoke a piece of delegated legislation if it wishes to do so, and can also introduce new legislation on the same subject. If an enabling act is of special, constitutional importance, parliament may need to vote in favour of introducing the delegated legislation. The act is debated in the House of Commons, and if a motion is passed it becomes law, usually within 28 or 40 days. This is known as an affirmitive resolution procedure. A negative resolution procedure, on the other hand, means that delegated legislation is put to parliament for a specified time (usually 40 days), and any MP wishing to annul it may do so. This will usually bring about a debate, after which, if either House passes an annulment motion, the delegated legislation will be cancelled. Other controls in place are; Committee supervision, in which a parliamentary committee reports to each house on delegated legislation which requires special consideration; ministers can ask questions at question time, or raise them in debates; The House of Lords can also veto delegated legislation (eg: in 1968 it rejected sanctions against the Rhodesian government) ...read more.


There are, however, also disadvantages associated with delegated legislation. Firstly, criticisms have been made of the lack of democratic involvement with regards to the fact that delegated legislation is made by civil servants, not directly elected politicians. A further concern is that, owing to sub-delegation, rules can sometimes be made by people who were not given the original power to do so. In conclusion, the major criticism levelled at delegated legislation is that it is almost impossible to provide effective supervision, despite the controls implemented to do just that. The general public are often unaware of delegated legislation rules, let alone how to go about opposing them, and this has the knock-on effect of less individual challenges being brought before the courts and the courts ability to affect delegated legislation being effected. This means in turn that the most common method of control is parliamentary and, as it it is rarely possible to prevent legislation being passed through the affirmitive resolution procedure, this too has been the subject of criticism about the effectiveness of overseeing delegated legislation. ...read more.

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An answer which addresses all three elements of the two questions set. The discussion of controls and advantages and disadvantages is stronger than the description of forms of delegated legislation. It would certainly be expected to include greater detail of the three main forms of delegated legislation.
Rating: ***

Marked by teacher Nick Price 06/06/2013

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