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Control of Delegated Legislation | How Delegated Authority are Controlled
Delegated legislation has to be controlled because it promotes the growth of executive and bureaucratic power. In other words, delegated legislation relieves the legislature of its responsibility and strengthens the executive.
This development is inevitable and it raises the need for effective control of delegated legislation. It can be controlled in the following ways.
Ways of Controlling Delegated Legislation
- Parliamentary Control: The legislature may want to ensure that the minister’s powers to make delegated legislation are not excessive and that the orders themselves are not unjust and oppressive. Apart from provisional and special orders for which a particular procedure is laid down, the legislature exercises control by general supervision of the executive and by close scrutiny of the actual rules.
- Committee on Statuto Instruments: The Select Committee on statutory instruments considers every statutory order laid before parliament for confirmation or annulment and recommends to the legislature the ones which require special attention. It does not however, have power over departmental legislation.
- Publicity: Under the British Statutory Instruments Act of 1946, every delegated legislation to be presented to parliament must first be made available to the general public and to the pressure groups that may be adversely affected by such delegated legislation.
- The Courts: The courts also control delegated legislation. Any aggrieved person may ask the court to rule that a delegated legislation is null and void. Such complaint may be based on an injunction, order of prohibition, certiorari or mandamus. An injunction, for example, restrains an act, which may threaten private rights or‘ is likely to cause a breach of the peace. These restraining orders are necessary where a delegated legislation is not made in line with the prescribed ‘procedure or where it exceeds the powers conferred by the Act.
- Ministerial Responsibility: Ministers are held responsible for any bad delegated legislation. Although ministers have the power to make orders as they deem fit, criticisms and general debate on matters relating to his ministry may force a minister to drop a particular legislation. He may also not want to incur the displeasure of his colleagues.
- Financial Control: Local government authorities are empowered to impose levies or taxes on the people in the council area to supplement the grants received from the state or central government. The state government must, however, approve the levy or tax before collection. Moreover, local governments are required to keep proper accounts and present their accounts books for periodic auditing.