Law Making

E-TMA 02

The law making in the United Kingdom is very broad, and it can be made by statute law, which is the law created in Parliament by Delegated legislation, which law is created by subordinates of Parliament or even by the European Union. Law can also be made in the courts, as judges set precedents and interpret law in various ways which will then be binding in future cases.

      An Act of Parliament, also known as a statute, is a bill that has become law after being passed by parliament. A bill is a legislative proposal for a law which has to be passed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and after being passed by both houses, it has to receive Royal assent before it can become a statute. For example, the “Crime and Disorder Act 1998” is an Act of Parliament.

      Delegated legislation, also known as subordinate legislation, is where parliament transfers its law-making authority to subordinates such as Government departments, local authorities or public bodies. This authority is granted when parliament feels under pressure in creating law, i.e. lack of time and therefore an enabling act of the Act of Parliament creates a framework of law, which then passes the authority of the subordinates to pass on the law.

      The courts may be called upon to interpret a statute if they feel that parliament has not been clear when writing an Act of Parliament. This can happen when a draftsman has left out some words when writing the Act, a broad term was used or when an ambiguous word or phrase was used.   Therefore, it is then down to the judges to decide what parliament meant when writing the Act of Parliament.

      The concept of precedent is based on the Latin word “stare decisis”, which means stand by what has been decided. Once a precedent is set, it will be binding in future cases, only if the case is heard on a court of equal or lower status of where the precedent was created. If the court is of a higher status, the judge may not...