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Scotland: legal resources: UK legislation

Subjects: Law

Online sources of legislation

Below are the reliable sources of Westminster legislation available to holders of an Oxford SSO.

The first group require an Oxford SSO, the second group are available to all access to the internet.

It is important to know whether you are looking for the amended (current) text of an act or the unamended statute in the wording orginally passed by Westminster. The subscription databases Westlaw Edge UK and Lexis + UK are probably quicker at incorporating amendments: to be extra sure check both!

Reliable online sources of UK statutory materials on the free web

Printed sources of UK legislation

On Level 2, the level at which you enter the Law Library

The open shelf collection includes those services on which the English legal world relied before the arrival of the legal databases and online sites.

Halsbury's Statutes  Shelf mark: KZ 2

Multi - volume work arranged by broad subject area.  Has statutes as amended and annotated with a looseleaf updating service.

Halsbury's Statutory Instruments  Shelf mark: KZ 3

Arranged by broad subject these have summaries of statutory intruments with some major instruments being reprinted in full.

Current Law Statutes Annotated Shelf mark: KZ 5

From 1947 onwards.  Arranged by year.  Contains statutes as originally enacted with annotations.

Current Law Legislation Citator  Shelf mark: KZ 6

A chronological index of UK legislation for the period indicated on the spine, detailing amendments, commencement dates and cases which have interpreted the legislation.

On Level 1, one floor below the entrance level to the Library

On open shelf are runs of the texts of legislation (public, private and local) and statutory instruments in the form as originally promulgated.  These are bound together chronologically. There are also various historic indexing services to help you find legislation by topic or subject matter.

 If you require an early (ie pre c1850) then please ask a member of staff for assistance. It may be a volume which has to be fetched for you.

New Legislation

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English & Welsh & UK legislation

Primary legislation (Statutes or Acts) are passed by Parliament.  
During its preliminary stages, prospective legislation is
 called a Bill. Once a Bill has been through all the parliamentary stages, and a final text  has been approved by both Houses of Parliament it is ready to receive Royal Assent. Once this is received the legislation is now an Act. 

Later parliaments can return to enacted statutes and adapt the text via amendment or repeal (in part or in full) via subsequent legislation. If you are looking for the current law you must always make sure that you look in a source that includes amendments.

Secondary or delegated legislation (statutory instruments) is also produced, usually by specific government departments, but these do not usually need to go through the process of parliament.  When looking for Legislation it is important to distinguish between unamended legislation and amended legislation.  If you are looking for the current law you must always make sure that you look in a source that includes amendments.

Legislation is covered by many of the legal databases - see the box on the left for further details of which database contain amended and unamended legislation.

Legislation in the Bodleian Law Library starts at CwUk 10 on the main floor.  There are a number of hard copy series that contain legislation, the official series is held and is unamended.  See the box Printed sources of UK legislation on the left for more details.

Finding your way around a UK act

Below is a short presentation outlining the different parts of an act. If you want information about how to find an act see the Introduction to UK Legislation presentation which has further information.