Category Archives: UK Government

Primary Legislation, Secondary Legislation, Statutory Instruments and Orders-in-Council. What are they and what is the difference between them?

Primary Legislation, Secondary Legislation and Statutory Instruments are all mechanisms through which law is enacted in the UK. It is clear that not all laws can be passed by full Acts of Parliament. There is simply not the parliamentary time for this. Indeed, this is borne out by the numbers. For example, in the 2017/2019 parliamentary session there were 70 Acts of Parliament passed. However, in just 2018 alone, 1387 statutory instruments (secondary legislation) were enacted. It is clear that most law in the UK is not made by Parliament directly.

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Book Review – Unspeakable by John Bercow

Warning: Before starting this book, access to an adequate dictionary is advised. Even as a child Bercow recalls how he was called a ‘walking dictionary’ and his tendency to use infrequently deployed words from the Chair is certainly repeated in this book!

In his decade as Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow became, without any doubt, the most controversial Speaker in modern parliamentary history. In the final quarter of his term as Speaker, it appeared that even any veneer of impartiality had began to fade. In this book the shackles of neutrality are completely off and the author appears to revel, at times far too much, in this newfound freedom.

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HM Treasury v. Ahmed (2010) – Why such a good example?

The UK Supreme Court was established under the Constitutional Reform Act (2005). It replaced the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the highest court in the UK. However, it only began operating in 2009, with its first case adjudicated on in October 2009.

HM Treasury v Ahmed was a major early case for the UKSC
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What is the Private Members Ballot and why is it so important to backbenchers?

In the last Parliament (2017-2019) only four private bills made it through Parliament and received Royal Assent. This compares to 63 public bills, which are usually introduced by the Government.

The Government dominates the legislative agenda and very little time is available for backbenchers to try to pass legislation. However, hope is offered through the the Backbench Ballot which takes place each year. Backbench MPs enter a ballot (lottery) and 20 Backbench MPs win the chance to earn priceless parliamentary time for a bill o their choice. Of these 20, the first seven drawn are pretty much guaranteed time to put forward their bill on Friday Mornings, which are usually reserved for backbench business.

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