Procedural Deviance of Delegated Legislation from Parent Act

16 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2011

Date Written: June 22, 2011


Ultra vires literally means, ‘beyond powers.’ Ultra vires has two meanings: (1) substantive ultra vires where a decision has been reached outside the powers conferred on the decision taker; and (2) procedural ultra vires where the prescribed procedures have not been properly complied with. The doctrine of ultra vires gives courts considerable powers of oversight over decision-making. The range and variety of bodies amenable to the doctrine is large. Ministers, or any public body with statutory powers, may be included. The doctrine also applies to companies and corporations that are amenable to the remedies of declaration or injunction.

An ultra vires act is one beyond the purposes or powers of a corporation. It is to be mentioned that all ultra vires actions are void but all void actions are not ultra vires. An erroneous act is void but not ultra virus. The law of ultra vires does not apply to the acts done by private citizens but only to those done by authorities or persons clothed with legal powers. Powers enables an authority to do what would otherwise be illegal or ineffective.

Suggested Citation

Vakil, Keli Darshan, Procedural Deviance of Delegated Legislation from Parent Act (June 22, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Keli Darshan Vakil (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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