What are Statutory
Two types of Statutory instrument (SIs)
There are two main types of statutory instrument:
affirmative instruments, which
Parliament must expressly approve; and
negative instruments, which become
law without a debate or vote - but may be opposed, or “prayed against”,
by a member of either House.
In both cases, Parliament’s room for manoeuvre is limited. Parliament can
accept or (theoretically) reject an instrument but cannot amend it. In
practice, time for debating statutory instruments is limited.
They have the full force of law.
The need for SIs is stated within the text of an Act.
How Delegated Legislation is
Delegated legislation, some general points
Most Acts of Parliament nowadays include
provisions giving powers to Ministers to make delegated (or secondary)
legislation and most delegated legislation takes the form of statutory
In order to reduce pressure on
parliamentary time, Acts of Parliament often give government ministers
or other authorities the power to regulate administrative details
These are as much the law of the land as
are Acts of Parliament.
Statutory Instruments (SIs) are normally
drafted by the legal department of the ministry concerned and may be
subject, when in draft, to consultations with interested parties.
Between 2,000 - 4,000 SIs are issued each
(3,699 in 2005)
To minimise any risk that delegating
powers to the executive might undermine the authority of Parliament,
such powers are normally only delegated to authorities directly
accountable to Parliament.
The relevant Acts concerned sometimes
provide for some measure of direct parliamentary control over proposed
delegated legislation, by giving Parliament the opportunity to affirm or
Parliament always has the right to
consider whether the SI is made in accordance with the powers that it
are usually drafted by the legal department of the Ministry concerned,
often following consultations with interested bodies and parties whilst
the SI is in draft; and they are then "made" in the name of the person
(usually a Secretary of State or Minister), to whom authority is given
in the parent Act.
Numbered in the SI series, which runs from number 1 each year, and is
quoted in the form: SI 2003/872.
There are about three thousand each year, from a single sheet to several
hundreds of pages.
Some apply to the whole of the UK, some to the individual counties only.
must be printed and sold
The Statutory Instruments Act 1946 (amended in 1996) requires
statutory instruments to be printed and sold as soon as possible unless
they are local, temporary, or sensitive and not yet in operation, and
printing would not be expedient.
R v Sheer Metalcraft Ltd (1954)
Held: A statutory instrument was valid despite non-compliance
with the publication requirements.
Examples of Statutory
Example 1: Section 41 of
Road Traffic Act 1988
Regulation of construction, weight, equipment and use of vehicles
"41.—(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations generally as to the
use of motor vehicles and trailers on roads, their construction and
equipment and the conditions under which they may be so used."
Similarly SIs may be made under section 14
Road Traffic Act 1988
regarding seat belts in vehicles
The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) (Amendment)
These Regulations make provision relating to the wearing of
seat belts and other restraints by children and adults in motor vehicles.
Although this is a Statutory Instrument, and therefore subordinate
legislation it was used to
amend the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Road
Traffic Offenders Act 1988.
They also amend The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat
Belts) Regulations 1993.
These regulations were needed to implement requirements of
Council Directive 2003/20/EC and did so by using
of the European Communities Act 1972.
Police and Criminal Evidence Act - Codes of
Section 66 of The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) says
that The Secretary of State shall issue codes of practice in connection
Police powers of stop and search and the detention, treatment, questioning
and identification of persons by police officers; and searches of premises
by police officers; and the seizure of property found by police officers
on persons or premises.
There has to be consultation with interested parties (e.g. the police, the
Bar Council, the Law Society) and an affirmative resolution by both Houses
of Parliament (below).
Court Rules are made by committee and
approved by Parliament
Criminal courts rules:
The Lord Chancellor has the power (under section 144 Magistrates'
Courts Act 1980) to make Court Rules in respect of the way
magistrates' courts are run. He has to first consult
with the rule committee. The Rules are usually administrative, for example
how forms should be completed and served.
Civil Courts rules:
The rules affecting conduct of civil courts (Court of Appeal (Civil
Division - the High Court - county courts) are made by The Civil
Procedure Rule Committee under
section 2 of
the Civil Procedure Act 1997 after consulting with whomever they
consider appropriate (2(6)(a)).
In both cases rule changes are brought into
effect by a Statutory Instrument subject to the annulment procedure
Fine for use a mobile phones whilst driving
It is now a specific offence to use a hand-held phone, or similar device,
when driving. The penalty is a £30 fixed penalty or up to £1,000 on
conviction in court (£2,500 for drivers of goods vehicles, buses or
These regulations were created by the Transport Minister (or at lease his
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations
2003 under authority of the parent Act, the
Road Traffic Act 1988 section 41(1) and (5).
Statutory grievance procedures
When problems arise in the workplace many people think they can have their
day in court by taking an employer to an Employment Tribunal (ET).
Any application to the ET will be rejected if the employee has not
attempted to resolve the dispute with the employer using the
organisation's internal grievance procedure. Failure to participate
in a timely manner can see any eventual award being reduced by 10-50%.
These rules were created by
The Employment Act
2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004 which was made under
51(4) of the Employment Act 2002.