In comparative federalism and comparative constitutionalism reserved powers or residual powers are those powers which are not "enumerated" (written down, assigned). In various federal and decentralized political systems certain areas are assigned to either the central (or federal) government or the regional (or state or provincial) government; however it is not possible to list all possible subject that might be legislated on for all time. Therefore, the framers of major constitutional documents tend to assign all other subjects that may arise after the document is enacted to one of the two orders of government. This is considered a major power in its own right.
In Canada, for example, the reserved powers lie with the federal government; in the United States, the reserved powers lie with the constituent states. 
Application around the world
In Australia, despite the centralized nature of the constitution, the High Court adopted the "reserved powers doctrine" until 1920 was used to interpret of the Constitution of Australia such that the states should be viewed as the holding the reserved powers. This doctrine is now obsolete.
In the United Kingdom "reserved matters", refers to those subjects dealt with solely by the United Kingdom Parliament, and not devolved to the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales or the Northern Ireland Assembly.
- Reserve power, a power that may be exercised by a head of state without the approval of another branch of government