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If Statutory Instruments are (sometimes?/always?) used to enact Acts of Parliament, are their powers bounded to maintain democratic legitimacy?

Are there any controls in place to avoid Statutory Instruments - that can effectively bypass Parliament - from “overreaching”?

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If Statutory Instruments are (sometimes?/always?) used to enact Acts of Parliament

In particular, they tend to be used to specify details (e.g. regulations) that would be too cumbersome to be included in an Act, and which might change over time. They are also commonly used to bring Acts, or parts of Acts, into force on particular dates (commencement orders).

are their powers bounded to maintain democratic legitimacy?

Well, it's a matter of legal theory, in that a government has only the powers which Parliament grants it (apart from the Royal Prerogative).

Are there any controls in place to avoid Statutory Instruments - that can effectively bypass Parliament - from “overreaching”?

Yes. Unlike Acts of Parliament, SIs can be nullified by the courts.

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A statutory instrument that exceeds the limits of the enabling Act is void. For example, an Act that enables the executive to make regulations about companies would not support a regulation that purported to affect companies and partnerships.

There are two controls in place:

  1. regulations must be tabled in Parliament and any MP can call for the regulation to be debated and voted down.

  2. anyone affected by the regulation can go to court to oppose it - there are lots of things they can argue including that the regulation overreaches its enabling Act.

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