Articles filed under Legislation

Most types of primary legislation (eg Acts, Measures, NI Orders in Council) on legislation.gov.uk are intended to be held in “revised” form, meaning that amendments made by subsequent legislation are incorporated into the text. Most types of secondary legislation are not revised and are held only in the form in which they were originally made.

A central criticism of legislation.gov.uk in the past has been that much primary legislation is not in fact up to date, in some cases lagging several years behind amending instruments. However, recent efforts have turned this situation around.

Legislation.gov.uk is now in the final stages of a programme to bring all the revised legislation fully up to date. Except for a few special cases that require extra work (such as the Taxes Management Act 1970), the backlog of outstanding effects will have been cleared and the revised legislation brought up to date by the end of 2018.

Open law is the idea that public legal information should be freely available to everyone to access, use and republish. The current position in the UK differs completely as between legislation and case law.

legislation.gov.ukBloomsbury Law OnlineICL Ronline

News from Legislation.gov.uk, Bloomsbury Law and ICLR.

Legislation.gov.uk, managed by The National Archives, provides an essential – and free – public service. Millions of people use it to find and access the legislation they need, lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

Quick, easy to navigate and use, with an advanced timeline feature so you can see how legislation has changed, there has been one major snag with legislation.gov.uk: the revised versions of the legislation, which shows how it has been amended, is out of date. The National Archives has been working towards meeting the target that all of the primary legislation on legislation.gov.uk is up-to-date by the end of 2015.

Big data is big news. An estimated 90 per cent of the world’s data was created in the last two years (see www.ibm.com/big-data) and insights gleaned from large datasets are increasingly driving business innovation and economic growth.

What can the big data revolution do for law? One of the big data challenges for law is the statute book. It’s simply too big and it changes too quickly for any one person to comprehend. The big data revolution provides us with a real opportunity to understand how the statute book works, and to use those insights to deliver better law.What can the big data revolution do for law? One of the big data challenges for law is the statute book. It’s simply too big and it changes too quickly for any one person to comprehend. The big data revolution provides us with a real opportunity to understand how the statute book works, and to use those insights to deliver better law.

This is the second in our series on independent publishers providing law update services and their views on BAILII and legislation.gov.uk. In the last issue we covered CaseCheck, Law Brief Publishing and Daniel Barnett.

BAILII has been providing free access to case law for 14 years and legislation.gov.uk provides advanced (if not yet up to date) open access to all in force legislation. These resources have changed the ground rules for law publishing: smaller publishers are relying on them, adding their own value and developing new update services. We asked several independent publishers to describe their services and comment on the free primary sources.

Despite its sophistication, legislation.gov.uk fails to provide an adequate service inasmuch as its consolidation of primary legislation is only complete up to 2002 and secondary legislation is not consolidated at all. So, if you’re after an up to date statement of the law, you often won’t find it.

The launch in July 2010 of legislation.gov.uk to little fanfare (there was no marketing budget!) was a significant landmark achievement, both in terms of official legislation and of the whole Berners Lee inspired concept in Government of “linked data” and the semantic web. And, like many aspects of public sector information, it raises enormous issues about data quality, our expectations and priorities.

Since late July we have a shiny new official home of UK legislation at legislation.gov.uk. In due course this will completely replace the two current legislation services at OPSI and the Statute Law Database.

Since 2005 there have been many improvements in the OPSI legislation site, including a new page design, PDF versions of primary legislation back to 1800, directly addressable content fragments (specific sections and sub-sections can be directly referenced), improved search, RSS feeds for new legislation and for user-generated searches, and the incorporation of revised pre-1988 statutes from the SLD.

It is now 4 months since the Statute Law Database was released to the public. In the first couple of weeks following the launch there was a flurry of comment and criticism; but since then, near silence. Is everyone ecstatically happy with it, reserving their judgment or quietly cursing its shortcomings?