Discuss the disadvantages of delegated legislation

Delegated legislation, which refers to the power given to administrative or executive bodies to create regulations under the authority of primary legislation, has some disadvantages. While delegated legislation can provide flexibility and efficiency in law-making, it also raises concerns regarding democratic accountability, potential for abuse, and lack of public scrutiny.

Democratic deficit: Delegated legislation may lead to a democratic deficit by granting law-making powers to unelected administrative bodies or officials. These bodies may lack direct democratic accountability, as they are not elected representatives of the people. This raises concerns about the legitimacy of the regulations they create and their ability to reflect the will of the citizens.

Lack of public scrutiny: Delegated legislation is often made outside the public eye, with limited opportunities for public input or scrutiny. Unlike primary legislation that undergoes detailed parliamentary debates, delegated legislation may be created without the same level of public deliberation and accountability. This reduces transparency and public awareness of the regulations that affect them.

Potential for abuse and excessive power: Delegated legislation grants considerable discretion to administrative bodies, which can lead to the potential for abuse or the exercise of excessive power. There is a risk that delegated legislation may go beyond the intended scope or purpose outlined in the enabling Act, potentially infringing on individual rights and freedoms.

Complex and inaccessible: Delegated legislation can be complex and difficult to understand for ordinary citizens, as it often involves technical language and references to other statutes. This complexity can create challenges for individuals and businesses in understanding and complying with the regulations. It may also lead to inconsistencies or confusion in their application.

Reduced parliamentary scrutiny: Delegated legislation may receive less scrutiny from elected representatives compared to primary legislation. Due to the volume of delegated legislation and limited time available for parliamentary scrutiny, there may be a risk of inadequate examination and understanding of the regulations, potentially leading to poorly drafted or inconsistent rules.

Lack of uniformity: Delegated legislation can result in a lack of uniformity across different jurisdictions or areas within a country. Since different administrative bodies may have the authority to create regulations, there can be variations in the rules and standards applied. This can create confusion and difficulties in complying with the law, especially for individuals or businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions.

Limited accountability and remedies: Challenging the validity of delegated legislation can be more complex and limited compared to primary legislation. The process for reviewing and questioning the regulations may be more restricted, and individuals or organisations affected by the regulations may have limited legal remedies available to them.

To address these disadvantages, it is important to ensure adequate safeguards and controls on delegated legislation, such as proper parliamentary scrutiny, transparency, public consultation, and mechanisms for judicial review. Striking a balance between the need for efficient law-making and democratic accountability is crucial in mitigating the disadvantages associated with delegated legislation.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham
ESSEC Business School

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law


    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory


    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.