7.1.1 Legislative Functions - Introduction


Welcome to the seventh topic in this module guide - Legislative functions! Primary legislation constitutes UK Acts of Parliament, some of which include important constitutional rules in the absence of a codified constitution in the UK. The process of drafting primary legislation and the institutions involved in the process illustrate three key constitutional principles in context: parliamentary supremacy, the rule of law and the separation of powers.

The elected government takes a lead in the legislative process.  Ministers and civil servants develop the policy behind the legislation, government lawyers draft Bills, ministers introduce Bills into Parliament and push them through the House of Commons and House of Lords. The Secretary of State often decides when a statute should come into force. Where the Crown Prerogative is involved, the Queen is required to give consent for the Bill to progress through Parliament. Bills require the royal assent to become law, in present times this is merely a formality.

At the end of this section, you should be comfortable with what legislative functions are. You will be able to identify the process of legislating, primary and secondary legislation and pre and post-legislative scrutiny. This section begins by discussing primary legislation. It then proceeds to identify who is the legislature and it discusses the drafting of bills. The section then goes on to look at pre-legislative and post-legislative scrutiny.  There is then a discussion of the devolution and legislation. The section finally discusses administrative rule-making Royal prerogative powers and the need for reform. Finally, the section discusses recommendations for a more comprehensive approach to the whole set of royal prerogative powers.

Goals for this section:

To understand legislative functions.

To appreciate the different kinds of legislation.

To understand who is legislature.

Objectives for this section:

To be able to outline legislative functions.

To understand the role of the legislature.

To be able to understand scrutiny and drafting of bills.

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