Local Authority Byelaws

Published Tuesday, December 22, 2015

This note describes the general procedures under which local authorities may make byelaws, and lists some of the byelaw-making powers currently available.

Jump to full report >>

Local authorities and certain other bodies have powers under various Acts of Parliament to make byelaws, which are essentially local laws designed to deal with local issues. At present, byelaws must be approved by central government before they can be brought into force. Their revocation also requires the intervention of central government and they are enforced through the magistrates’ courts. Powers over byelaw procedure are devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In 2015 new regulations were approved (but have not yet been made) reforming the procedure for making some byelaws in England. This followed several years of debate over reducing or removing the Secretary of State’s role in confirming the majority of proposed byelaws, beginning under the 2005-10 Labour government. This was designed to ensure a simpler, more straightforward process and local “ownership” of such laws. The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 permits regulations to be made to reform these procedures.

The Welsh Assembly Government has passed the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Act 2012, which passes control of most byelaw procedure to local government in Wales.  

Commons Briefing papers SN01817

Author: Mark Sandford

Topics: Legislative process, Local government

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.