Delegated Legislation

5 May 2017

Delegated legislation in its various forms is a necessary source of law in a progressive society. Parliament simply cannot keep up with the need for law reform demanded by society. The government formed within Parliament has to fulfill the promised reforms (among other agenda) and there is definite pressure to see that these reforms are passed within the particular session. The lack of specialized knowledge among MPs’ make DL a necessary avenue to ensure reasonable and effective content of the law.

It would be unreasonable to expect MPs’ to have specialised knowledge nd understanding on a wide variety of areas. Delegated power is also necessary to enable a particular minister or body of people to issue laws to deal with emergencies and unforseen contingencies. Passing an Act of Parliament is a particularly lengthy process and therefore unsuitable to deal with emergencies. There are numerous concerns over the contribution of delegated/ secondary/ subordinate legislation as a source of law in the I-JK.

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The bulk of reform via DL is alarming eg 100 Acts to 3000 pieces of DL and the concerns are Justified.

Delegated egislation(DL) is a generic term for legislation which is passed by a subordinate body to whom Parliament has delegated law making powers. At a higher level, DL passed by the Pri’vy Council or cabinet ministers or ministers are called Orders in Council , Statutory Instruments and Ministerial Regulations whereas DL issued by Local Councils are called ‘by laws’ . Undeniably, these laws are not passed by Members of Parliament as the peoples’ legislative representatives but by bodies controlled by the executive due to their unique position as a power within Parliament and having a degree of control ver Parliament.

This threat is compounded by the practice of sub delegation within the ministry. The first part of the statement above is therefore valid as the idea of democracy is based on a nation governed by laws passed by popularly elected representatives rather than the executive. The making of DL by executive ministers/ bodies is also contrary to the ideals of the Doctrine of Separation of Powers which is practiced in most democratic nations. The latter part of the statement is therefore arguably Justified in that the practice of L is a very high price to pay as a source of law today.

Despite this concern it is undeniable that DL is a necessary practice to ensure smooth governance of a nation. These concerns have however been addressed by the various forms of parliamentary, Judicial and political controls operating to ensure that the threat is contained or reduced. The Parent Act itself provides boundaries to the exercise of power by the subordinate body and also provides guidelines eg the requirement to consult, and method of approving the delegated laws. The Joint Select Committee on Statutory Instruments has the function of scrutiny and review of such laws to ensure

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