Delegated legislation

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Delegated legislation

Delegated legislation

Delegated legislation is legislation that is made by some other power than parliament, but with the authority of parliament. This is authority usually laid down in a ‘parent act’, or ‘enabling act’. An example of enabling act is the disability discrimination act 1995 which gave the secretary of state powers to make regulations with regard to the provision of services and discrimination in employment and the employment act 2002

Reason for delegated legislation

It would clearly be impossible for parliament to enact every minor detail of the legislation which it whished to pass and therefore it gives power to other bodies to enact subsidiary legislation under its own parliamentary authority. The main reason for delegated legislation is, therefore, save parliament time. It is particularly useful when the matter at hand either very detailed or very complicated and, as a result, very time-consuming. As the enabling act creates frame work for the legislation and then delegates to others the power to devise the detail.

Delegated legislation may also be used in an emergency, as it enables the government to act quickly.

The characteristics of delegated legislation

Convenience and the ability to change things quickly are the hallmarks of the various forms of delegated legislation.

The principal forms of delegated legislation

As regards the forms of subordinate or delegated legislation found in the UK the principle forms are;

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Orders in council- These are enacted under powers delegated to the Privy Council. Orders in council are used in emergency situations, usually when parliament is not sitting. In 2001 the government issued orders in council empowering highway authorities to close public rights of way to help prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease. The order amended the foot and mouth disease order 1983

Orders in council are also used when statutory instruments would not be appropriate, for example when transferring responsibilities between government departments. For instance, orders in council were used to transfer the powers of ministers of the ...

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