The Scottish Parliament and law making
The Scottish Parliament and law making

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2.2 Affirmative or negative procedure

Affirmative and negative procedures are important in scrutinising delegated legislation. Delegated legislation is a major source of law making. In the Scottish Parliament more than 300 pieces of delegated legislation are passed each year. Delegated legislation does not follow the same process as Bills so there is little public consultation although there may be consultation with experts in the particular area.

  • The affirmative procedure means that delegated legislation is laid before Parliament in draft form. Approval of that draft by Parliament is needed before it comes into force (becomes law).
  • The negative procedure means that the delegated legislation is signed by the Minister and then laid (go before) Parliament. Usually they come into force 28 days after they are laid.

The scope of delegated legislation varies considerably, from technical and procedural to much more wide-ranging powers.

Infographic Scottish Parliament Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee
Figure 4 Infographic Scottish Parliament Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee

Watch the following video which summarises the difference between primary and subordinate legislation and explores the work of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee.

Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
Figure 5 shows the volume of Scottish Statutory Instruments from 1999 to mid-2017. A significant number are passed each year with the highest number in 2007 (at 582).

Take a moment and reflect on how many Acts of the Scottish Parliament there have been (you considered these in Week 3). Statutory instruments far outnumber them.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371