Legislative (Rule Making) Power


Legislative power of administrative agencies, usually known as rule- making power and more formally delegated legislation, is the power of agencies to enact binding rules through the power delegated to them by the legislator. The complex nature of the modern state is that such elected representatives are not capable of passing laws to govern every situation. Many of their lawmaking powers, as well as the power to administer and implement the laws, are therefore delegated to administrative agencies. These agencies are involved in virtually every area of government activity and affect ordinary citizens in many ways, whether these citizens are home owners needing a building permit to erect a new room, or injured employees seeking workers’ compensation, or farmers selling their produce.
Efficient and effective administration necessarily requires promulgation of laws, flexible to the existing situation and dealing with detailed technical matters. These laws have to be provided in the required quantity and quality. However, due to the limitation of the on parliament as regards to the availability of sufficient time and expertise, the lawmaker will be compelled to delegate some of its powers to the administrative agencies.
When legislative power is delegated to administrative agency, it has to be exercised fairly and only with a view to attain its purpose. The agency should also enact rules within the limits of delegation set by the lawmaker.
Practically, it is difficult to avoid instances in which power may corrupt. Thus the lawmaker when delegating power should simultaneously introduce controlling mechanisms to ensure that individual‘s liberty and freedom is not violated by the administration. Most importantly, the lawmaker, when granting power, is expected to provide specific procedure of rule-making. In most countries, an administrative agency exercising its legislative function is required to give notice to the public of the proposed rule and incorporate comments from the public. This ensures public participation in the administrative process. The rules issued by the agencies should also be published in a formal instrument, which is easily accessible to the public, thus, encouraging openness in the public administration.