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In law, a Statutory Instrument is a form of delegated or secondary legislation.

United Kingdom

Republic of Ireland

Statutory Instruments are frequently used in the Republic of Ireland. The term "Statutory Instrument" is given a broad meaning under the Irish Interpretation Act 2005 to include "an order, regulation, rule, bye-law, warrant, licence, certificate, direction, notice, guideline or other like document made, issued, granted or otherwise created by or under an Act [of the Oireachtas]".

Many Statutory Instruments have been made under the European Communities Act 1972 which allows ministers to make regulations to give effect to European Union law. This has led to claims that an increase in the use of Statutory Instruments to make legislation without consulting the Oireachtas has been a more noticeable feature of Irish law-making since it joined the European Union (EU). However, these claims are controversial since they have not been backed up with any statistical analysis. Furthermore, as stated above, Statutory Instruments can only be made when authority is given by an Act of the Oireachtas. All Acts of the Oireachtas are debated prior to their adoption, including the European Communities Act. The claim that certain Irish legislation can be made without the authority of the Oireachtas under a constitutional provision which does not allow constitutional challenges to legislation 'necessitated' by membership of the EU is incorrect. The relevant constitutional provision states:

10° No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State which are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union or of the Communities, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the European Union or by the Communities or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the Treaties establishing the Communities, from having the force of law in the State.

This provision, however, does not give the government authority to bypass normal parliamentary procedures when it enacts such laws.

Other countries

Similarly to the United Kingdom, national and state/provincial governments in Australia and Canadamarker also call their delegated legislation Statutory Instruments.

Canada uses statutory instruments for proclamations by the Queen of Canada. For example, the Proclamation of the Queen of Canada on April 17, 1982 brought into force the Constitution Act 1982, the UK parts of which are known as the Canada Act 1982.


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