Originally published in 1968, this book deals with the process of public legislation in modern Britain at the time, not in terms of constitutional formulae, but by a realistic appraisal of the relationships between the political institutions and forces which gave the process its shape. It concentrates particularly on the procedures and conventions which operated at the preparatory stages of legislation, and established that legislation was almost exclusively a governmental function, Parliament playing only a minor role. It is particularly concerned to stress the extent to which consultation by the government with pressure groups was now a major feature of the legislative process, and concludes that subordinate departmental legislation, developed as a result of collaboration between pressure groups and Civil Servants, was the most characteristic and important stage of the legislative process in Britain.
The book brought together the conclusions of recent scholarship in this field, and the result is a balanced perspective of an important decision-making process of British government at the time. Today it can be read in its historical context.