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lesson note on government Delegated Legislation


Delegated legislation can be described as the practice of entrusting power and function through the Acts of Parliament to other organisations such as ministries, local government, public corporation, and so on. Delegated legislation is also known as executive legislation, administrative legislation, or subordinate legislation. Laws made by such bodies are referred to as bye-laws.


  1. Bye Laws: These are laws made by local government, ministries, and public corporations such as PHCN, NTA, NPA, etc. according to the power conferred on them through the Acts of Parliament.
  2. Order in Council: A typical example of where this is used is Britain where the King or Queen has a legal backing to issue some orders or make proclamation on some matters. Such orders are most times under the advisory and ratifying role of the Privy Council which is the final appellate court in the UK.
  3. Statutory Instrument: The Statutory Instrument Act empowers ministries to issue rules and regulations applicable to their jurisdiction in the country. Example is ‘No loitering’ in secured premises like bank vaults, police stations and barracks; ‘No Smoking’ in the Public organisations such as schools, hospitals etc.
  4. Rules of Professional Bodies: These are rules and ethics guiding the activities of professional bodies e.g. NMA, ANAN, CIBN, etc. which are constitutionally legal and binding on members.
  5. Warrant: This is legal document signed by a judge and given to the police to carry out. Examples are bench warrant, search warrant, warrant of arrest, and so on.
  6. Provisional Order: This is a temporary power given to a minister to run an undertaking until it is ratified by the parliament.
  7. Special Procedure Order: A minister can make an order and send a notification to the parliament for approval. Except there is a contrary petition, the order comes into effect after fourteen (14) days.


    Following are some of the benefits of delegated legislation to modern governments.

  1. It helps government to be closer to the people when relevant legislations are delegated to administrators at the centres of primary needs.
  2. Delegated legislation fosters efficiency and effectiveness in governance.
  3. Workload on the central legislation is shed through delegated legislation and this reduces burden and burnout that may result through heavy tasks.
  4. Jargons or technical terms used in some fields which may be cumbersome for parliaments are better handled through delegated legislation.
  5. It helps parliaments to save time and energy for other important legislation.
  6. Emergency situations are better handled through delegated legislation.


It is important to control the way delegated legislation is exercised so as to effectively achieve their objectives and goals. Such control will make officials accountable for their conducts. It will also prevent the emergence of unreasonable laws, autocracy and undue highjack of the powers of the legislature. In view of these, there are a number of control centres and methods for regulating delegated delegation.


  1. PARLIAMENTARY CONTROL: There are standing committees in the parliament covering almost every sector so that any statutory instruments emanating from beneficiaries of delegated legislation are well scrutinized. The parliament critique or reject bills made by such bodies before they become laws.
  2. JUDICIAL CONTROL: The court of law has the power to review laws made by organizations in order to ensure they are in agreement with the constitution. In the process of adjudication, some order or law may be declare unconstitutional and set aside.
  3. MINISTERIAL CONTROL: Ministries, departments, agencies and public corporations are under the purview of ministers who has the power to scrutinize by-laws, rules or regulations made by them. So, the minister can approve or disapprove laws and can even dissolve the Board of Directors of public corporations.
  4. AUDITING: Auditing of the accounts of public corporation is a normal administrative procedure by governments in other to ensure ethical management of financial resources.
  5. PETITIONS: Delegated legislation is controlled when people send petitions about maltreatment or corruption against a public corporation to the Public Complaint Commission (ombudsman) or parliament.
  6. PUBLIC OPINION: The critical opinion held by the public in a given society towards a public organization is also a way of controlling the excesses in the exercise of delegated legislation. Such opinion could be expressed through means as protest, boycott, mass media, the press, and so on.
  7. FINANCIAL CONTROL: Government may withhold the disbursement of fund to public organization as a means of controlling their exercise of delegated legislation.


  • (a) What is delegated legislation?
  • (b) Of what use is delegated legislation to modern government?
  • (c) List and describe the forms of delegated legislation
  • (d) Discuss the control of delegated legislation.

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