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Legislation: How to find and use legislation: Checking legislation status

What is legislation? Where can you find UK and Scottish legislation? How can you check the status of legislation?

How to check the status of legislation

When using legislation you need to know information about:

  • Commencement: Has the provision come into force?
  • Repeals / revocations: Is the provision still in force?
  • Amendments: Has the original text of a provision been altered by subsequent legislation?
  • Judicial consideration: Have any cases cited the provision and has it been judicially interpreted?

There are a number of texts and services which help you check the status of legislation.

Several online database services incorporate features which allow you to check the status of UK and Scottish legislation.

However, it is sometimes necessary to use 'traditional', printed, aids.

Video: Checking the status of legislation | Checking status online | Checking status in the Library

Video: Checking the status of legislation

How to check the status of legislation online

Checking the status of legislation on Westlaw

Individual Provision

From the provision record follow the link to ‘Provision Details’. Under ‘Commencement’ the date the section came into force is noted with details of relevant commencement provisions. If the provision is not in force this will be noted, for example, ‘Date to be appointed (not yet in force)’.

Entire Act

Commencement information for the entire act can be viewed by selecting ‘Act Details’ and then 'Commencement'.

 

N.B. Westlaw does not give complete commencement information for acts prior to 1991.

The default 'Primary & Secondary Legislation' search retrieves in force legislation. The version you see incorporates repeals (or revocations) and amendments.

Individual Provision

Within the provision, text inserted by amending legislation is indicated by the text appearing within square brackets and repealed text is indicated by a series of dots in square brackets […]. Footnotes indicate the repealing/amending legislation.

Within the 'Provision Details', the ‘Table of Amendments’ allows you to view previous versions of the provision. Alternatively, select the version in the bar to the right of the text of the provision (e.g. Version 5) to view previous versions. Any version of a provision which has been amended is indicated as such with Superseded together with the dates the version was in force to the right of the text.

N.B. Detailed information is only available for amendments/repeals made in the period since information was uploaded to Westlaw (in 1991). However, amendments prior to that date are incorporated into in force legislation.

From the individual provision record, follow the link to ‘Provision Details’ (in the left frame). Under ‘Extent’ the territorial extent of the provision (e.g. UK, England & Wales, Scotland) is noted.

You can find out whether a provision has been judicially considered, interpreted, or otherwise cited in case law under 'Primary References' .

From the provision select 'Primary References'. Under ‘Key Cases Citing’ and 'All Cases Citing' you can see lists of any cases citing the legislation.

Tip: You can also find information about cases citing a legislative provision by using the Cases search and selection 'More options'. In the 'Legislation Title' enter the title of the act and then select the provision type (section, regulation etc.) from the 'Legislation Provision No.' dropdown and enter the number in the box.

Checking the status of legislation on Lexis Library

NOTES

Information about commencement is given, where possible, under the ‘NOTES’ section in each provision record.

Find out more

In the 'Find out more' box to the right of the text of a provision, you can follow links to:

  • 'Status Snapshot'
  • 'Halsbury's Statutes Citator'; and
  • 'Is it in force?'

Each of these sources provides commencement information about provisions, where available.

Tip: You can search ‘Is it in force?’ (available under ‘Commentary’) separately. Search by the act’s title. Each record gives commencement information for provisions within the act.

 

A Legislation search retrieves in force legislation incorporating repeals and amendments (if you leave the 'Current Version' box checked in your search).

Repeals and amendments are indicated by the text appearing in square brackets.

NOTES

Details of amending legislation are given, where possible, under ‘Notes’ within the provision record.

Halsbury's Statutes Citator

In the 'Find out more' box to the right of the text of a provision, you can follow links to 'Halsbury's Statutes Citator'. This source provides information about repeals and amendments, where available.

Tip: You can search ‘Halsbury’s Statutes Citator’ (available under ‘Commentary’) separately. Search by legislation title. Each record gives amendment / repeal information for provisions within the legislation.

Find out more - cases

In the 'Find out more' box to the right of the text of a provision, you can follow a link to 'Cases' (if available). This source provides information about cases citing a provision, where available.

Online sources of legislation

How to check the status of legislation in the Library

Using printed sources to check the status of legislation

First look within the act itself for the ‘Commencement’ section (often designated 'Short title, commencement and extent') towards the end of the act, before any schedules. This may indicate that the act came into force on the day it received Royal Assent, or at a specified date thereafter. Alternatively, the commencement section may indicate that powers have been delegated to a minister to bring certain sections into force via a ‘Commencement Order’ (a type of SI).

If commencement powers are delegated, refer to either:

  • Current Law Legislation/Statute Citator : Start with the volume covering the date of your act and trace forward in time. Entries for each act list Commencement Orders issued during the period covered by each volume. You need to look at the relevant order to check the date at which a section came into force.

Or:

  • The ‘Table of Legislation Not Yet in Force’ in the Current Law Statutes Service File lists legislation not yet in force at the time of the most recent issue.  The ‘Commencement Diary’ in the ‘Commencement Orders’ section of the Service File gives the commencement date of provisions recently brought into force.
Current Law Legislation Citator (1948 - )

Start with the volume covering the date of your act and trace forward in time. Find the act by year and chapter / asp number. (Pre-1707 Scots Acts and asps appear towards the front of each volume.)

The entry for each act lists, section by section, amending / repealing legislation issued during the period covered by each volume.

You need to look at the amending legislation to check exactly when, and how, the original legislation was amended.

N.B. The Legislation Citator only covers the period from 1948 onwards. For amendments and repeals prior to that date, refer to the Chronological Table of Statutes.

Chronological Table of the Statutes

This table may be used to check for acts repealed /amended from 1235 up to the latest date covered by the table. Find the act by year and chapter / asp number. (Old Scots Acts and asps appear towards the end of the final part.)

The title of an act repealed in its entirety is in italics and the repealing legislation referred to.

The title of an act at least partially still in force is in bold and any repealed or amended provisions are referred to together with the amending legislation.

You will find this information in the act itself. The ‘extent’ section appears towards the end of the act before the schedules. This gives information about the territorial extent of sections within the act. For example:

129 Extent

(1) Subject to the following provisions, this Act extends to England and Wales only.

(2) Sections 83(2), 101 and 102 extend also to Scotland.

(3) The following provisions extend also to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar—

(a) sections 103, 104 and 128,

(b) this section, and

(c) paragraph 7(2) of Schedule 7, and section 127(1) so far as relating thereto.

(4) Section 114 extends also—

(a) to Scotland,

(b) to Northern Ireland.

If a UK act contains no information about extent, it is presumed to apply to the whole UK.

Current Law Legislation Citator

Start with the volume covering the date of your act and trace forward in time. Find the act by year and chapter / asp number (pre-1707 Scots Acts and asps appear towards the front of each volume.)

The entry for each act lists notable cases which considered individual sections reported during the period covered by each volume.

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