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United Kingdom Law: Legislation

Online sources of legislation

Please see below a list of the more common online sources of UK Legislation.  It is important to know if you are looking for amended or unamended legislation.There are a number of subscription databases that have amended legislation and they also include other information (such as annotations) which may be useful.

Printed sources of UK legislation

On Level 2 are:
Halsbury's Statutes

Classmark: 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:

Classmark: KZ 3

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

Current Law Statutes annotated

Classmark: KZ 5

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  Contains statutes as originally enacted with annotations.

Current Law Legislation Citator

Classmark: KZ 6

Historic versions of legislation are on Level 2

These are arranged by year and are not amended. 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.