Delegated legislation affecting Northern Ireland

31.42At the time of writing, the Northern Ireland Act is suspended although there has been legislation to ensure that the public service can continue (see para 11.9, fn 2). This section accordingly describes the framework in the Northern Ireland Act 1998. This Act established the Northern Ireland Assembly with competence to legislate for matters devolved from Westminster. The extent of the Assembly's legislative competence is set out in s 6 of the 1998 Act. Schedule 2 to the Act sets out matters which are excepted from the Assembly's legislative competence, such as international relations and defence, nationality, United Kingdom taxation and national insurance arrangements. Schedule 3 sets out matters in which legislative competence is presently reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament: these include postal services and financial services and markets.

The Northern Ireland Act 1998, s 85 provides that Her Majesty may, by Order in Council, make provision for certain of the reserved matters set out in sch 3 to the Act.1 Orders made or proposed to be made under s 85 are subject to the super-affirmative procedure described above (para 31.14 ).


  1. 1. The specific reserved matters are set out in sch 3, paras 9–17. They include civil defence, firearms and explosives.