This 2014 book was the first comprehensive study of the delegated legislation system at Westminster in nearly a century. The book opens up the process, through the presentation of detailed research and case studies; concludes that the current system is broken; and sets out proposals for comprehensive reform.
Most of the UK’s general public law is made not through Acts of Parliament but through delegated (or secondary) legislation, generally in the form of Statutory Instruments (SIs). Delegated legislation is crucial to the effective operation of government, from the social security system to immigration rules, legal aid to food labelling, rubbish bin collections to the national curriculum. But despite the volume and importance of such legislation, remarkably little public and media attention is normally paid to it.
‘The Devil is in the Detail: Parliament and Delegated Legislation’ opens up the delegated legislation process. It explores how, and by whom, decisions are made about what goes into primary legislation and what into secondary legislation. It looks at the evolution of delegated legislation, and sets out in detail how the delegated legislation process works in both Houses of Parliament. It also examines a number of legislative case studies that illustrate different aspects of the flaws in the current system.
‘The Devil is in the Detail’ concluded that the present system for the scrutiny of delegated legislation at Westminster is broken, especially in the House of Commons, and it set out a range of recommendations for comprehensive reform. Several years on, these reforms remain badly needed.
The research in ‘The Devil is in the Detail’ has provided the basis for the Hansard Society’s extensive subsequent work on delegated legislation at Westminster, and for the Society’s continued advocacy of reforms to the delegated legislation scrutiny process.
Table of contents
- Context and history: delegated legislation through the years
- The life-cycle: delegating power in the parental Act
- The life-cycle: Statutory Instruments
- Public Bodies Act 2011
- Draft Deregulation Bill 2013
- Localism Act 2011
- Welfare Reform Act 2012
- Policing and Crime Act 2009
- Banking Act 2009
- The efficacy of the parliamentary scrutiny process
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