Despatch Box

Comment and analysis from the Hansard Society research team and more.


Analysis, insight and commentary on the Westminster Parliament and other legislatures in the UK and around the world, from the Hansard Society research team and leading experts, politicians and parliamentary officials.


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 / Ping-pong and packaging

13 Feb 2021

Blog / Debating 'meaningful votes'

12 Jun 2018

Blog / Whose House Is It Anyway?

12 Oct 2017