What is legislation, legislation as source of law, Types of Legislation

Meaning of legislation

The process of making or enacting the positive law in written form, according to some type of formal procedure, by a branch of government constituted to perform this process...also termed lawmaking; statute making

What is legislation. legislation as source of law

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Origin of legislation

The term legislation is derived from two Latin words, Legis meaning law and Latum meaning to make, put or set. Etymologically, legislation means the making or setting the law.

Definitions of Legislation

According to Salmond "Legislation is that source of law which consists in the declaration of legal rules by a competent authority"

According to Gray "Legislation means the formal utterances of the legislative organs of the society."

According to Holland "The making of general orders by our judges is as true legislation as is carried on by the crown"

According to Austin "There can be no law without a legislative act"

Kinds of Legislation

According to Salmond, there are two kinds of legislation

  • Supreme Legislation
  • Subordinate Legislation

Supreme Legislation

Supreme legislation is that which proceeds from the sovereign power in the state. It cannot be replaced, annulled or controlled by any other legislative authority.

FOR EXAMPLE The parliament of India possesses the power of supreme legislation.

Subordinate legislation

Subordinate legislation is that which proceeds from any authority other than the sovereign power. It is dependent for its continued existence and validity on some superior authority.

Salmond refers to five kinds of subordinate legislation

  • Colonial
  • Executive
  • Judicial
  • Municipal
  • Autonomous


As regards subordinate legislation in the colonial field, the powers of self-government entrusted to the colonies and other dependencies of the crown are subject to the control of the imperial legislature which may repeal, alter or supersede any colonial enactment.

Exception to the above mentioned rule after passing the statute of Westminster of 1931:- the Dominion legislature have been given the power to make any law please. No law passed by them after the Act of 1931 one can be declared in operative or void on the ground that it is repugnant to the law of England or any act of parliament. Every Dominion legislature has the power to repeal or amend any law.


Another kind of subordinate legislation is executive legislation or delegated legislation. It is true that the main function of the directive is 2 in force last but in certain cases, the power of making rules is delegated to the various departments of the government. This is technically called subordinate or delegated legislation. Delegated legislation is becoming more and more important in Modern Times.


In certain cases, legislative power has also been given to the judiciary. The speed records are allowed to make rules for the regulation of their own procedure. It is the true form of legislation although it cannot create new laws by way of precedents.


Municipal authorities are also allowed to make bye laws for Limited purposes within their areas.

According to Allen by a series of enactments, notably the public Health Acts, 1875 To 1976, the Municipal Corporations Act 1882 and the Local Government Act 1888 to 1933, local authorities..... County, borough, rural and urban district councils... Have powers to enact bye laws binding upon the public generally, for public health and for good order and government''


Sometimes the state allows private persons like Universities,, railway companies, etc., to make by laws which are  recognized and enforced by law courts. Such legislation is usually called autonomic. The regulation of its undertaking. Like why is a University Mein make statutes for the Government of its members.

Delegated Legislation is controlled in the following ways

  • parliamentary control
  • Parliamentary supervision
  • Judicial control
  • trustworthy body
  • Publicity
  • Expert’s opinion



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