Affirmative instruments are normally laid before the Parliament in draft form and require the approval of the Parliament in order to come into force or (more rarely) to remain in force.
The procedure for dealing with an affirmative instrument is as follows:
- The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee considers the technical and legal aspects of the instrument and has to report on these to the relevant lead committee, normally no later than 20 days after the instrument is laid.
- The lead committee must report to the Parliament with its recommendations on approval no later than 40 days after the instrument is laid. This normally follows consideration of a motion from the Minister that the committee should recommend approval.
- The motion to approve the instrument is normally lodged and considered at a meeting of the Parliament in the Chamber no later than 40 days after the instrument is laid, but it can be scheduled for a date after the 40-day period. (No time limit is set in legislation or the standing orders for the Parliament to agree a motion to approve an affirmative instrument, but a long delay is not desirable from a practical point of view.)