Publications / Reports

Compendium of Legislative Standards for Delegating Powers in Primary Legislation

25 Apr 2022
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Acts of Parliament in the Parliamentary Archives, Houses of Parliament, Westminster. (© UK Parliament / Parliamentary Archives)

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.

Dheemanth Vangimalla , Researcher, Hansard Society
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Researcher, Hansard Society

Dheemanth Vangimalla

Dheemanth Vangimalla
Researcher, Hansard Society

Dheemanth joined the Hansard Society in July 2021 as a Researcher to contribute to the Review of Delegated Legislation. His role also involves supporting the day-to-day delivery of the Society’s legislative monitoring service, the Statutory Instrument Tracker®.

Dheemanth has a diverse professional background that includes experience in both the legal and non-legal sectors. He completed his MBBS degree at the University of East Anglia. He has since attained a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) while working full-time as a junior doctor at an NHS hospital trust. He has previously conducted legal research with the hospital’s legal services department. As a research assistant, he has also contributed to a public international law project concerning citizenship and statelessness. Additionally, he has experience conducting scientific and laboratory-based research during his BMedSci degree in Molecular Therapeutics at Queen Mary University of London.

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We hope that, by drawing DPRRC standards across a range of issues together into a single document, this Compendium will prove a useful resource for all those involved in the production, scrutiny, interpretation and use of delegated powers and what they should – or should not – be used for. By distilling over a hundred DPRRC reports, the Compendium should convey a sense of the Committee’s thinking and concerns, and the wider landscape of debate and recommendations about delegation and scrutiny procedures across government. The standards presented in the Compendium have been derived from a comprehensive analysis of DPRRC reports over three parliamentary Sessions (2017-19, 2019 and 2019-21) – Sessions that have seen Bills introduced and delegated powers sought during exceptional and tumultuous social and political circumstances. The Compendium presents the list of legislative standards derived from DPRRC reports in four categories:

  1. General principles underpinning the delegation of legislative powers: What may constitute inappropriate delegation of power, and are there certain principles that apply to assessing the scope of such delegation?

  2. Parliamentary scrutiny of the use of delegated powers: What standards apply to prescribing parliamentary scrutiny procedures and requirements as to the nature of accompanying documents?

  3. Types of provision: What standards apply to certain types of legislative provision?

  4. Policy areas: What standards apply to delegated powers in certain policy areas?

Appendix I sets out in more detail the remit and practice of the DPRRC, utilising material from the Committee’s own reports. Appendix II comprises an extract from the DPRRC’s ‘Guidance for Departments’. Appendix III comprises a glossary of key terms.

Who funds this research?

This research was supported by the Legal Education Foundation as part of the Hansard Society's Delegated Legislation Review.