Byelaws are local laws made by a local council under an enabling power contained in a public general act or a local act requiring something to be done – or not done – in a specified area. They are accompanied by some sanction or penalty for their non-observance.
If validly made, byelaws have the force of law within the areas to which they apply. Generally byelaws are overseen by the relevant government department or confirming authority who has policy responsibility for the subject matter.
Byelaws are enforced by the local authority through the magistrates’ court and contravening a byelaw can result in a fine upon successful conviction.
Byelaws are considered measures of last resort after a local council has tried to address the local issue the byelaw applies to through other means. A byelaw cannot be made where alternative legislative measures already exist that could be used to address the problem. Byelaws should always be proportionate and reasonable. Where a byelaw is no longer necessary, it should be revoked.
The Byelaws (Alternative Procedure) (England) Regulations 2016
The Byelaws (Alternative Procedure) (England) Regulations 2016 introduce new arrangements for byelaws.
The regulations simplify the procedures for making new byelaws and amending byelaws, including replacing the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s role in confirming byelaws. This is now a matter for the local council, having taken account of any representations made about the proposed byelaw.
The regulations also give councils powers to revoke byelaws under an entirely local process.
The regulations do not give local authorities powers to create new categories of byelaws.