Law

Is the process of Delegated Legislation effective in ensuring the law is maintained? – Cameron Walker

Delegated legislation is any law created by a body external to Parliament, with the same level of authority. The authority is usually outlined in the Enabling Act; this defines the framework of the law and allows for powers to be delegated to other bodies to create more detailed law in a specific area. However, since being introduced, the question has remained how effective is delegated legislation in maintaining the law?

Parliament may not have the knowledge which is necessary during the creation of technical or local laws. People who have specific knowledge of a certain area are involved in creating any new laws deemed technical or local. This allows for Parliament to debate broader issues and allow experts with more knowledge to establish intricate details. Thus, the law is maintained as any potential flaws should be resolved before technical and local laws are passed.

The process of passing an Act of Parliament can range for up to 1 year. As such, Parliament may be unable to pass law quickly in the event of an emergency. Orders in Council are created by the Queen and the Privy Council, which consists of the Prime Minister and the Government, to give effect to European Directives and make emergency legislation as a result of the Emergency Powers Act 1920 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Due to the short period in which an Order in Council can be passed, the law is maintained as legislation relevant during an emergency can be passed.

Amending or revoking an Act of Parliament can cause difficulty and be length. Delegated legislation can be introduced, amended and revoked at any time and can be used to deal with unforeseen issues or as a response to developing situations. This ensures the law is maintained as no delay is encountered during the creation of legislation.

In contrast, law-making is effectively removed from the House of Commons as delegated legislation allows unelected bodies to create law. As such, the respective bodies are unaccountable for their actions and the quality of delegated legislation may be affected due to the controls of Parliament being limited. Whilst by-laws are unaffected by this criticism, this contradicts the theory of Parliamentary Sovereignty, which states that Parliament is the supreme body in the making of law. Thus, the law may not be maintained as one of the key principles within law is rendered ineffective.

The controls with which Parliament can control delegated legislation are limited. Some delegated legislation remains unchecked and may become law unless rejected by Parliament within 40 days as most statutory instruments made by Ministers are mostly dealt with through negative resolutions. In addition, the Scrutiny Committee have limited power regarding delegated legislation. This may prevent the law from being maintained as possible flaws within the delegated legislation would be followed.

Sub-delegation involves delegated legislation being passed between external bodies. This can be difficult to control as a lengthy process is involved to revoke the authority to the original body. This would prevent the law from being maintained as no definitive body would be established for an area of delegated legislation, rendering the concept ineffective.

Overall, delegated legislation is a sufficient method for ensuring that the law is maintained but is not without multiple flaws. For delegated legislation to become more efficient, various improvements should be made to prevent different aspects of the process from being flawed. What improvements do you think would be necessary to make delegated legislation more effective?

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