he democratic proces Delegated legislation is the power delegated by Parliament to some person or body to make law. The Act of Parliament that enacts a valid piece of delegated legislation, and the latter itself, both have the same legal force and effect. Parliament retains general control over the procedure for enacting such law. There are various types of delegated legislation. Orders in Council, Statutory Instruments, Bye-laws, Court Rule Committees, Professional regulations.
It is essential to focus on the facts that specific controls have been established to oversee an unjust or inapplicable delegated legislation. Apart from the parliamentary control of the Join Select Committee on Statutory Instruments, Courts can also challenge ultra vires provisions through judicial review. Due to the complex nature of the delegated legislation, there are contradicting opinions about its democratic or not- characteristics.
Some people argue that as long as there is some control over delegated legislation not only by Parliament by more importantly by judiciary, this kind of legislation doesnt seem to threaten the democratic process. In fact, given the pressure and waste of time on debating, it is more beneficial for the government to spend its precious time in a thorough consideration of the principles of the enabling Act, leaving the appropriate minister or body to establish the working details.
The time saving and the fact that particular problems are faced swiftly from the minister or body overview provides greater flexibility in governmental and sociopolitical activity.
In addition, it practically goes without saying that the majority of the members of Parliament simply do not have sufficient expertees to consider specialized provisions effectively. A good example supporting this allegation is the Bye-laws.
As a result of the above, delegated legislation is a necessity because it can produce flexible, quick but still well-examined Acts, especially in situations of state emergency. In this case, the government will resort to the Privy Council without going through the full process.
Those who oppose to the use of delegated legislation will answer to this argument that the Privy Council and most of such bodies are simply a means through which the government in the form of the committee of ministers can introduce legislation without disputes and reactions.
It is generally acceptable that the ordinary members of Parliament cannot fully understand what is being enacted; partly because of the highly specific and technical phrasing of these Acts and partly because regulations appear outside the context of their enabling legislation.
Furthermore, the lack of scrutiny by the ordinary member of Parliament is increased by magnitude of delegated legislation which some times becomes law only because no one was informed about their existence, so to vote against them.
Lastly, since the very form of delegated legislation makes it extremely difficult for ordinary members to monitor it effectively, it is impossible for a reasonable man not to question the accountability and erosion of the Parliament. Certain people notably government ministers and the civil servants who work under them have more power that might be thought constitutionally correct.
To conclude, it is understandable that delegated legislation is needed at some extent. Still, delegated legislation tends to be used to avoid political cost. It shouldnt be disregarded that in a democratic society, the view of the people who disagree must be heard and taken into account.
1.Principles of the English Legal System, Gary Slapper & David Kelly