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