An enabling Act of parliament authorises somebody else or another
organisation other than parliament to make laws. This form of
legislating is called 'delegated legislation'. These powers that have
been granted to certain bodies are exercised through statutory
instruments, orders in Council, or bye-laws. Examples of delegated
legislation by a local authority are the legislating of a Bye-law,
made by Bristol city council concerning the fouling of pavements by
dogs. This delegated legislation by the council stemmed from the Local
government Act 1972. An example of an individual possessing delegated
legislative powers was where the secretary of State created Motor
cycles (protective Helmets) Regulations 1980, stemming from the parent
act - Road Traffic act 1988.
When parliament delegates legislation, the powers by the delegated
authority are chosen by parliament when setting the enabling act.
Before an individual, such as a government minister or another
authority that possesses legislative powers, can make an act, they may
have to undergo consultations with specified organisations or people.
This allows them to point out any faults with the proposals. When
ministers are delegated legislative power, parliament requires them to
submit the statutory instrument or a draft of it so select committees
from both houses can scrutinise it carefully. These committees report
back to parliament with its investigations, paying particular
attention to statutory instruments that impose taxes; makes a charge
on the Revenue; appears to be immune from court challenges; purports
to operate retrospectively; has been unreasonably delayed in
publication; makes unusual or unexpected use of powers granted;
appears to be ultra vires the parent Act-extras that have been added
but are not permitted; and a statutory instrument that appears to be
badly drafted leading to confusion.
For parliamentary approval the enabling Act may require an affirmative
resolution of each house, especially where powers are wide ranging as
in the Human Rights act 1998. The Statutory instrument may be subject
to annulment by either house within 40 days. This is the usual process
when parliament is giving its approval, but few are actually debated
and hardly ever annulled. When legislative powers are granted to
individuals other than ministers under the enabling Act, Ministerial
approval is a required part of the legislative process.
As well as parliament, the judiciary possess control over parties who
have legislative powers. The High Court has an "inherent
jurisdiction", to monitor and supervise anyone exercising delegated
power. This process occurs in the Administrative Court, which is part