Common law and statute law: the hierarchy of law-making

English and Welsh law is made up of common law and statute law – what I shall call, together, primary law; and, of the two, statute law will always trump common law. Common law is made for the most part by judges of the High Court, Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Statute law is made by Parliament (strictly speaking by the queen in Parliament).

Many modern statutes, of necessity, delegate law-making to government departments or to other statutory bodies. These bodies are then responsible for making subsidiary (or delegated) legislation, subject only to parliamentary approval. Much of the legal aid scheme depends on various levels of subsidiary legislation, as does the child support scheme; and family law could not work without Family Procedure Rules 2010 which are delegated to Family Procedure Rules Committee by Courts Act 2003 ss…

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