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Finding Legislation electronically

Finding Legislation in print

Statutes and Statutory Instruments

Hard copies of older statutes are available in Statutes of the Realm, Statutes at Large, and Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum.  Copies of more recent statutes are available in Current Law Statutes and Halsbury’s Statutes.  These publications provide annotations to the statutes as they were enacted.  To find out if a statute, or section of a statute, is in force or has been amended you can use Is it in force?, Chronological Table of Statutes, Public General Acts: Tables and Measures, Current Law Legislation Citators, and Halsbury’s Statutes.

For cases on the interpretation of an Act, or section of an Act, you can use Current Law Legislation Citators and Halsbury’s Statutes.  These publications will also tell you what Statutory Instruments (SIs) have been made, and whether or not the Act, or sections of an Act, have been brought into force by a Statutory Instrument.  In addition, Current Law Legislation Citators will tell you if there are any journal articles written about an Act.

Collections of Statutory Instruments are available in Statutory Rules and Orders and Statutory Instruments Revised and Statutory Instruments.  Halsbury’s Statutory Instruments only provides copies of selected Statutory Instruments.  This also tells you if a Statutory Instrument is in force or has been amended.  The TSO Daily Lists (online) lists new Statutory Instruments as they are published.

Current Law Statutes Annotated and Current Law Legislation Citator

Current Law Statutes Annotated is an alphabetical list of all statutes published each year, containing the text of all UK public and private Acts.  The text is of the Act as it was originally passed (as enacted) and does not include any amendments.  Use it with caution, and remember to check Current Law Legislation Citator for any repeals or amendments to an Act.

The annotations provide notes on the background of the Act, with references to bills, white and green papers, and parliamentary debates. It also discusses cases that were significant in motivating a piece of legislation.

The Current Law Legislation Citator does not give the full text or a summary of legislation, but notes all repeals, amendments, and the commencement dates of legislation.  Lists of cases that have applied legislation are also provided.

There are 7 main volumes to the Current Law Legislation Citator:

  • 1947-71
  • 1977-88
  • 1989-95
  • 1996-99
  • 2000-01
  • Individual soft cover volumes since 2001
  • Loose-leaf notes covering the months of the current year in the Current Law Statutes Annotated Service File

Each volume of the Citator is split into two parts, Statutes in the first, and Statutory Instruments in the second.  Both are listed in chronological order, you therefore need to know the year it was passed and its chapter number (for Statutes) or serial number (for SIs).

Using the Current Law Legislation Citator to check the status of Legislation

To ensure that you find all the amendments/repeals made to an Act you need to check the Act in question in each volume of the publication published since your Act was passed.  This is because an Act can be amended any time after it has received royal assent.

  1. Start at the volume containing the year in which the statute was passed (or 1947, whichever is the most recent).
  2. Look up the legislation in the alphabetical list at the beginning of the volume to find its chapter or serial number.
  3. Browse the chronological list of statutes/SIs to find the piece of legislation.  Each statute is divided into sections with notes detailing repeals, amendments, and cases that have used the legislation.
  4. Repeat this search in all the Legislation Citators and monthly digests up to the present day.

To locate one of the print statute series mentioned above, search CityLibrary Search for 'Current Law':

Everything Journal Articles Books/eBooks