Hansard Societyfor Parliamentary Democracy

Founded in 1944, the Hansard Society is the UK’s leading source of independent research and advice on Parliament and parliamentary affairs.

Latest work and highlights
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Highlights

Blog / Finding grace under pressure? Ukraine’s parliament at war

After over 70 days of total war, the first 43 under the very direct threat of bombing, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council), has undergone a significant transformation in terms of procedures, political orientation and constituency work.

13 May 2022
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Guides / What is the Queen's Speech debate and how does it take place?

In the Queen's Speech debate, the House of Commons and House of Lords debate their responses to the Speech. The debate lasts for several days in each House, and provides an occasion for a wide-ranging and constitutionally significant debate on the Government's policies and programme.

13 Dec 2019
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Guides / What is a Private Members' Bill?

Private Members' Bills (PMBs) are bills introduced by MPs and Peers who are not government ministers. They provide backbenchers with an opportunity to address public concerns and to set a policy agenda that is not determined by the executive. But the procedures, often a source of controversy, are different to those that apply for government bills.

13 Dec 2019
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Projects / Delegated Legislation Review

The problems with the delegated legislation system have long been known but Brexit and Covid-19 have illuminated them in stark terms. Our Review will lay out a comprehensive plan to address them.

03 May 2022
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Reports / Compendium of Legislative Standards for Delegating Powers in Primary Legislation

The scope and design of the delegation of legislative powers in any Bill affects the long-term balance of power between Parliament and Government. The House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC) scrutinises all such delegation. This report distils standards for the delegation of powers from 101 DPRRC reports from 2017 to 2021.

25 Apr 2022
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Articles / Brexit ‘Freedoms’, Risks and Opportunities? Certainty and uncertainty in the revision of retained EU Law

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Blog / An inter-parliamentary body for the UK Union?

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Blog / What role does the UK Parliament play in sanctioning an individual? [Video]

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Guides / Delegated legislation: Glossary of key terms

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Blog

Blog / Finding grace under pressure? Ukraine’s parliament at war

After over 70 days of total war, the first 43 under the very direct threat of bombing, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council), has undergone a significant transformation in terms of procedures, political orientation and constituency work.

13 May 2022
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Blog / Genetically modified organisms: Primary or delegated legislation?

A Statutory Instrument comes into force on 11 April that changes the legal requirements for the release of certain types of genetically modified plants. Some argue that the changes should have been made by primary, rather than delegated, legislation. Where does the boundary between the two lie?

08 Apr 2022
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Blog / What role does the UK Parliament play in sanctioning an individual? [Video]

Sanctions are imposed on an individual in two stages - by Ministers first making regulations and secondly designating the individual, using a power in those regulations. Parliament has a role in the first stage, but not the second.

15 Mar 2022
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Blog / Russia-Ukraine crisis: how are sanctions Regulations made and how does Parliament scrutinise them?

The UK's new Russia sanctions Regulations, being debated by the House of Commons on 22 February 2022 with one day's notice, highlight the use of delegated legislation to introduce sanctions regimes and the challenges posed for parliamentary scrutiny of urgent measures.

22 Feb 2022
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Blog / The care placement Regulations and the courts: too many holes in the net of parliamentary scrutiny?

A forthcoming judicial review on children-in-care highlights parliamentarians' inability to challenge only certain aspects, rather than the whole, of a Statutory Instrument. Courts can and do provide an important backstop against unlawful use of delegated powers, but this does not diminish the need for better parliamentary oversight of delegated legislation.

04 Feb 2022
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Blog / Back to the future? House of Commons scrutiny of EU affairs after Lord Frost's exit

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Blog / Living on a prayer (motion): How do parliamentarians debate 'made negative' Statutory Instruments?

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Blog / In it for the long haul: HGV driver shortage Statutory Instruments show scrutiny system shortcomings

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Blog / Launching our Delegated Legislation Review: powers, procedures, politics and time

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Publications

Reports / Compendium of Legislative Standards for Delegating Powers in Primary Legislation

The scope and design of the delegation of legislative powers in any Bill affects the long-term balance of power between Parliament and Government. The House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC) scrutinises all such delegation. This report distils standards for the delegation of powers from 101 DPRRC reports from 2017 to 2021.

25 Apr 2022
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Articles / Constitution and Governance in the UK: Parliament and Legislation

The Brexit process, the pandemic and the approach of the Johnson Government have all tended towards Parliament's marginalisation and the accretion of executive power. For UK in a Changing Europe's report on the constitutional landscape, we show how – in the legislative process and control of public money and executive action, including delegated legislation.

04 Apr 2022
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Briefings / The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill: four delegated powers that should be amended to improve future accountability to Parliament

The Bill seeks to crack down on ‘dirty money’ and corrupt elites in the UK and is being expedited through Parliament following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This briefing identifies four delegated powers in the Bill that should be amended to ensure future accountability to Parliament.

03 Mar 2022
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Articles / Brexit ‘Freedoms’, Risks and Opportunities? Certainty and uncertainty in the revision of retained EU Law

The UK Government's 'Benefits of Brexit' Policy Paper proposes allowing changes to retained EU law to be made "more easily" via delegated legislation. This raises constitutional concerns about the undermining of Parliament’s legislative authority.

24 Feb 2022
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Briefings / What Covid Regulations might MPs be asked to debate on 14 December and how will the Regulations be approved?

What Covid Regulations will the House of Commons debate on 14 December, and how? Amid backbench unrest, the occasion will be shaped by the interplay between delegated legislation scrutiny, parliamentary procedures, and raw politics. The outcome could have profound consequences for both public health policy and the Prime Minister’s position.

12 Dec 2021
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Articles / Parliament is under-scrutinising swathes of important law. But the problem can be fixed

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Guides / Delegated legislation: Glossary of key terms

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Reports / Delegated legislation: the problems with the process

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Publications / The Hansard Society Delegated Legislation Review: An introduction

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