UK primary and secondary legislation

The present post gives you a short summary of the primary and secondary legislation in the United Kingdom in accordance with the Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA, 4th edition).  It could be particularly useful for students who are writing their dissertations over the summer and want to cite UK legislation. For more information, please see pp. 23-28 in the OSCOLA user guide.

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© UK Parliament

UK primary legislation:

  • Acts of the UK Parliament
  • Bills
  • Acts of the Scottish Parliament
  • Scottish Parliament Bills
  • Acts of the Welsh Assembly (previously known as Welsh Measures)
  • Welsh Assembly Bills
  • Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly
    (or previously, Acts of the Parliament of Northern Ireland)
  • Bills of the Northern Ireland Assembly

UK secondary legislation:

  • UK Statutory instruments (previously known as Statutory rules, regulations
    or orders)
  • Rules of court
  • Statutory instruments of the Welsh Assembly
  • Statutory instruments of the Scottish Parliament
  • Northern Ireland statutory rules.

 

Taylor Library Team
lawlib@abdn.ac.uk

Understanding citations – LEGISLATION

STATUTES

  1. UK Parliament statutes

Statutes prior to 1963

Each piece of legislation passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom is known as an Act of Parliament. In the citation of the Act, the number(s) before the letters represents the years of the reign of the monarch during which the relevant parliamentary session was held. Parliamentary sessions did not coincide with calendar years, and usually they spanned more than one calendar year.

For example

enough

The citation here means that The Railways (Extension Time) Act is the 18th Act passed during the session that started in the 31st year of the reign of Victoria and which finished in the 32nd year of that reign.

Modern statutes (since 1963)

Each modern Act of Parliament commences with a ‘Short Title’, which is a relatively brief name almost invariably used to identify the Act. The Short Title also includes the year of enactment. This is followed by a chapter number, which denotes the sequential number of the Act in the calendar year.

For example

new-statutes

The citation means that the Human Rights Act was the 42nd Act of Parliament passed in the year 1998.

2. Scottish Parliament statutes

The Scotland Act 1998 and the Scotland Act 2012 guarantee the power to the Scottish Parliament to create their own legislation in certain fields. Acts of the Scottish Parliament commence with a ‘Short Title’ (usually containing the word ‘Scotland’ in brackets and the year of enactment) followed by the acronym ‘asp’ (which stands for ‘Act of the Scottish Parliament’) and a number  (which increases consecutively from number 1 with each Act in the calendar year).

For example

scottish-act

This citation means that the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act was the 1st Act of the Scottish Parliament passed in the year 2016.

DELEGATED LEGISLATION

  1. UK Statutory Instruments 

The most familiar type of delegated legislation is the Statutory Instrument (SI). Statutory Instruments in the UK are centrally registered and issued with a number which resumes from ‘No. 1’ at the start of each calendar year.

For example

si-1

2. Scottish Statutory Instruments

Each Scottish Statutory Instrument (SSI) made by the Scottish Government is in essentially the same form as the UK Statutory Instruments although cited using the prefix ‘SSI’. They are separately numbered, with the numbering resuming from ‘No. 1’ at the start of each calendar year.

For example

ssi

 

If you have any questions or need assistance, please visit the library or email us.

Taylor Library Team
 lawlib@abdn.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding citations – CASES

  1. INTERPRETING CASE CITATIONS

GENERAL RULES

What does case citation mean?

Case citation is a system of referencing by which legal professionals can identify a legal case heard and decided by one of the courts in the UK.
A full case citation starts with the Case name in italics followed by the neutral citation (where available) and/or the reference for  law report series where the case was published. The citation tells you where to find the case (in paper or online) if you need it.
For cases from Scottish and English courts, the citation usually has 3 distinct parts:

  • year
  • abbreviation (for the law report series in which the case was published)
  • page number.

Parallel citations

You may see more than one citation following the party names. These are parallel citations, and refer you to the case in different law report series. You do not need to find all the law reports which published the case to read it. You should use the most authoritative citation which is the first one right after the party names. Parallel citations offer an opportunity to find a case in different law reports if the library does not have the most authoritative source.

Neutral citations (case identifiers)

The neutral citations were introduced in the UK in 2001, and in Scotland in 2005. This system means that decisions of the superior courts in both Scotland and England are issued with unique judgement numbers. So, the last number after the abbreviation is not a page number but the identifier of the case.

courts-1

ANATOMY OF A CASE CITATION

scottish-cases

english-cases

neutral-citation

*Law reports are usually cited by abbreviation rather than the full title. Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations can help you understand the meaning of abbreviations for the titles of English language legal publications.

2. TRACKING DOWN CASES ON PAPER AND ONLINE

Law reports are available on paper in Block C and Block D of the Taylor Library. They are shelved by title in alphabetical order running down the right hand side of the lower level of the Library. The current parts of law reports are on the display stand near the entrance. All law reports are for reference use only.

For electronic versions of the law reports you have to consult the legal databases (Westlaw, Lexis Library, HeinOnline). Alternatively, you might want to check Primo, our resource discovery tool, for individual law report titles. (Do a ‘title search’ instead of a search by citation.) Please note that not all years are available for all law reports.
For more information on accessing and using legal databases, please read our library guides.

3. PRINCIPAL SERIES OF LAW REPORTS

SCOTLAND (this is not a comprehensive list of resources)

  • Session Cases (SC)
  • Scots Law Times (SLT)
  • Scottish Civil Law Reports (SCLR)
  • Scottish Criminal Case Reports (SCCR)
  • Scottish Criminal Law (SCL)
  • Green’s Weekly Digest (GWD)

ENGLAND (this is not a comprehensive list of resources)

  • The Law Reports

4 subseries within The Law Reports:

Appeal Cases (AC)
Chancery Division (CH)
Family (Fam)
Queen’s Bench (QB)*

  • Weekly Law Reports (WLR)
  • All England Law Reports (All ER)

*It can be King’s Bench (KB) – it changes with the monarch.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please visit the library or email us.

Taylor Library & EDC
 lawlib@abdn.ac.uk

 

 

 

Tip of the Day – Borrowing entitlement

beeeeewksLibrary users may borrow materials from the Sir Duncan Rice Library as well as from any of the site libraries, e.g. Medical Library or Taylor Library. The number of the items you can get depends on your membership category.

If you wish to know your borrowing entitlement, please consult the following list:

  • Undergraduate students: 20 loans
  • Taught Postgraduate students: 20 loans
  • Research Postgraduate students: 30 loans
  • Staff (including Honorary and Retired Staff): 50 loans
  • Temporary Services Staff: 10 loans
  • NHS Grampian Staff: 10 loans
  • External readers: 10 loans
  • SCONUL Access readers: 5 loans

Remember! University students and staff can get only two Heavy Demand books at a time, within their borrowing entitlement.

For more information, please follow the link here.

Taylor Library Team
lawlib@abdn.ac.uk

Tip of the Day: OSCOLA – Subsequent citation of a case

OSCOLA finalIn the following example, we demonstrate the subsequent citation of a case. The short form of the case name must be sufficient to identify the source.

If the full name of the case is given in the text e.g. AWB Limited v Honourable Terence Rhoderic Hudson Cole, the citation is provided in footnotes as follows:

74 [2006] FCA 571.

76 AWB Limited (n. 74).

Interpreting the footnotes:

74 As the name of the case is given in your text, it is not given in the footnote.

76 For subsequent citation, a short form of the case is sufficient to identify the source along with a cross-citation to the full citation.

Note that it is also acceptable to give the full citation every time a source is cited, and the Law School may prefer this to the use of short forms. Always consult your supervisor or course coordinator if you are uncertain about referencing and citing using OSCOLA.

For more information, see Page 5 in the OSCOLA user guide. For more OSCOLA examples, please follow the link here.

Taylor Library Staff
lawlib@abdn.ac.uk