Delegated legislation can be defined as the power of parliament to confer the authority to make laws and regulations on some persons or bodies.
Types Of Delegated Legislation
1. Statutory instruments: These are ministerial or departmental orders or rules made or issued by ministers, commissioners and senior civil servants under the authority of acts of parliament.
2. Provisional orders: These are temporary general rules or orders made by individuals or bodies authorised by the minister to make such rules, until the parliament could endorse or confirm them.
3. Bylaws: These are rules and regulations made by local governments or such a statutory body as the Nigerian Railway Corporation for the smooth running of their operations. Such rules and regulations apply only within the area of authority of the statutory body or local government.
4. Order-in-council: This refers to the power delegated to the British monarch to make a ’royal proclamation’ when there is need to exercise unusual legislative powers in the country. For instance, the monarch can declare war when the territorial integrity of the state is threatened by external enemies.
5. Special or emergency orders: These refer to government orders that are limited in scope especially during emergency periods.
6. Court decisions: The decisions of a judge that are binding as if they are an act of parliament, also constitute delegated legislation.
1. It is much easier for bodies with delegated legislation to make rules or bylaws, and to revoke such rules when they are no longer necessary or relevant.
2. It makes it possible for rules, regulations or bylaws on highly technical subjects to be made by experts in such fields.
3. Delegated legislation allows adequate time for the legislature to consider and make laws on policies, while matters of detail are dealt with by non-legislative bodies and individuals.
4. Delegated legislation allows for quick action in national emergency periods, such as war, strikes and demonstrations.
5. It is often said that laws made by the legislature are in many cases too technical for the average citizen to comprehend. Laws passed under delegated legislation, however, are easy to under stand due to their precision and thoroughness.
6. Delegated legislation gives the local people a greater sense of belonging in the political system, in that they are able to make bylaws to suit their local needs.
1. Delegated legislation violates the principle of separation of powers, especially as the individuals or organisations that make the bylaws always try and sanction offenders.
2. It violates the principle of the rule of law, for there is the tendency for some of the rules or bylaws to curtail the liberties of citizens.
3. The misuse of delegated legislation by the state in periods of emergency could lead to dictatorship.
4. The level of control of delegated legislation by the judiciary and legislature may be ineffective.
5. Delegated legislation is undemocratic, because the individuals and organisations that make rules or bylaws under it are not the elected lawmakers of the people.
Limits To Delegated Legislation
1. Parliament usually has the constitutional responsibility of controlling delegated legislation, by considering, approving or rejecting any rules, bylaws or regulations under delegated legislation.
2. The courts have a duty to protect the rights and liberties of the citizens. The courts can therefore declare any legislation illegal, unconstitutional and/ or ultra vires should such legislation violate the rights of citizens.
3. Ministers or commissioners are empowered to control the rules or bylaws passed by departments and public corporations being supervised by their ministries.
4. Public outcry or protest serves as a serious check on the bodies empowered to enact delegated legislation. Members of the public can protest to such a body as the Public Complaints Commission for a repeal or amendment of the law.
5. The mass media help to control delegated legislation by publicising such laws, and offering the public the opportunity to criticise and raise any objections as necessary.