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        This is legislation delegated to bodies such as local authorities, operators of transport systems or public utilities. The application of bye-laws is usually limited to a particular local area or the operations of a specific public body. Legislation.gov.uk does not publish bye-laws.


        Primary legislation (e.g. Acts) are numbered chronologically within the year in which they are enacted. The numbering re-starts each year. For UK Public General Acts (UKPGA) the number is referred to as a 'Chapter'. Acts are therefore, usually cited by their type, year and chapter number e.g. The Data Protection Act 2018 is cited as '2018 c.12'. Acts of the Assembly of Northern Ireland also use chapter numbers, but are numbered separately so are cited on this website as '2018 c.3 (N.I)'. Acts of the Scottish Parliament have their own numbering system that works in the same way. The number is referred to as 'ASP' (standing for Act of the Scottish Parliament) e.g. Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Act 2018 is cited as '2018 asp.3'. Acts of the National Assembly for Wales are numbered using 'anaw' (Act of the National Assembly for Wales) as the prefix for the number. Acts of Senedd Cymru are numbered ‘asc’ (Act of Senedd Cyrmru) as the prefix for the number.

        UK Statutory Instruments are numbered sequentially each year. Welsh Statutory Instruments and the Orders in Council made under the Northern Ireland Acts are included in the same numbering sequence as UK Statutory Instruments. They are distinguished within that sequence by a subsidiary number in brackets after the S.I. number (e.g. '(W. 22)', '(N.I. 15)', etc.). There are also UK Statutory Instruments relating exclusively to Scotland which are included in the UK numbering sequence and distinguished by a subsidiary number (e.g. '(S. 27)'). These are not to be confused with Scottish Statutory Instruments which have their own 'SSI' numbering sequence, as do Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland which have their own 'SR' numbering sequence separate from the UK 'SI' sequence.

        Full details about how we cite legislation on legislation.gov.uk are in our 犀牛坦克Guide to Revised Legislation.



        The current Scottish Parliament was established in 1999 by the Scotland Act 1998 to debate issues and make laws for Scotland. The Scottish Parliament has power to make laws on a range of issues that are known as devolved matters. Some issues remain the responsibility of the UK Parliament alone. These are known as reserved matters. Further powers are transferred to the Scottish Parliament through the Scotland Act 2016 in areas such as taxation, welfare and elections. Your Scottish Parliament is a leaflet published by the Scottish Parliament that explains how the Scottish parliament makes laws.


        The Northern Ireland Assembly was established as a result of the Belfast Agreement of 10 April 1998.

        The Agreement was subsequently given legal force through the Northern Ireland Act 1998. It led to the creation of a series of interrelated bodies, in particular the Northern Ireland Assembly, which, when it is functioning, has full legislative and executive authority for all matters that are the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Government Departments and are known as transferred matters. Excepted matters remain the responsibility of the Westminster Parliament. Reserved matters are also dealt with by Westminster unless it is decided by the Secretary of State that some of these should be devolved to the Assembly. Excepted and reserved matters are defined in the Schedules to the NI Act.



        There are still Acts in force that were enacted by the Old Scottish Parliament from 1424 - 1707. These are referred to on this site as 'Acts of the Old Scottish Parliament' whereas acts passed by the current Scottish Parliament are referred to as 'Acts of the Scottish Parliament'.

        The history of the Scottish Parliament is explained in detail on the History section of the Scottish Parliament website.


        As a result of the complex history of the political situation in Northern Ireland since 1921, there have been a number of changes in the way that primary legislation has been made. The types of primary legislation for Northern Ireland still extant are: Acts of the Parliament of Northern Ireland (1921 – 1972) Measures of the Northern Ireland Assembly (1974 only) Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly (2000 – 2002 and 2007 to date) Orders in Council made under the Northern Ireland Acts (1972 to date) Although this last category of legislation takes the form of UK statutory instruments (which are secondary legislation), it constitutes, in effect, the primary legislation for Northern Ireland during periods of 'direct rule' by the UK government. Orders in Council continue to be used to legislate for Northern Ireland in relation to matters that have not been devolved to the Assembly. Visit the Northern Ireland Assembly website to find out more about the history of the Northern Ireland Assembly and how the assembly operates.


        The term 'Geographical Extent' is used to describe the geographical area within the UK to which a piece of legislation (or part/section of a piece of legislation) applies.

        The term 'extent' when used in legislation refers to the jurisdiction(s) for which it is law. Thus, the extent may be the whole of the UK or one or more of the three jurisdictions within the UK: England and Wales; Scotland; and Northern Ireland. Note that England and Wales are not separate jurisdictions. The term 'extent' is currently used more loosely on legislation.gov.uk for searching purposes, to help users find legislation relevant to each of the four geographical parts of the UK. For this reason, it may denote a limited territorial application within a wider technical extent. For example, the extent of the legislation may be 'England and Wales' but it only applies to Wales. In due course, changes will be made to the way in which 'extent' information is presented on legislation.gov.uk so that information about extent and limited territorial application within a wider extent will be displayed separately.

        Currently, each 'extent' is represented by one of, or a combination of, England (E), Wales (W), Scotland (S) and Northern Ireland (NI). Thus, a UK extent is E+W+S+NI and a GB extent is E+W+S. This information can be displayed within revised legislation when it is being viewed by selecting 'show geographical extent' in the left-hand column.

        Every version of every provision (e.g. section of an act) and every higher level of division within a piece of legislation (whole legislation or part level) is assigned its own extent. In the case of higher levels of divisions (at whole legislation level or part level) the extent will be set wide enough to include the extent of all the provisions (e.g. sections) within it.

        In some limited cases there may be multiple versions created to represent differing geographical extents. Two or more versions of a provision (or other level of division of legislation) are created where a substitution of text (or of the whole provision etc.) affects only part of the original geographical extent of the provision. Such versions have the same start date and continue to run alongside one another.

        For instance, if there is a substitution of text in a provision that extends to the whole of the UK, but the substitution affects Wales only, two versions result: one for the provision in its unamended state to cover England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and one for the provision as amended to cover Wales.


        A variety of documents can be published alongside legislation. A selection of the most common documents are explained below:


        An Explanatory Memorandum (EM) sets out a brief statement of the purpose of a Statutory Instrument or Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland and provides information about its policy objective and policy implications. It aims to make the Statutory Instruments or Rules accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. EMs accompany any Statutory Instrument or Draft Statutory Instrument laid before Parliament from June 2004 onwards and any Statutory Rule laid before the Northern Ireland Assembly (or UK Parliament during the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly) since June 2004.


        Impact Assessments generally accompany all UK Government interventions of a regulatory nature that affect the private sector, civil society organisations and public services. They apply regardless of whether the regulation originates from a domestic or international source and can accompany primary (Acts etc) and secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments). An Impact Assessment allows those with an interest in the policy area to understand: why the government is proposing to intervene; the main options the government is considering, and which one is preferred; how and to what extent new policies may impact on them; and, the estimated costs and benefits of proposed measures.


        An Act of Parliament creates a new law or changes an existing law. An Act is a Bill that has been approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and been given Royal Assent by the Monarch. Taken together, Acts of Parliament make up what is known as Statute Law in the UK.

        An Act may come into force immediately, on a specific future date, or in stages. You can find out when an Act is due to come into force by looking at a section of the Act itself, headed 'Commencement' – this is among the very last sections of an Act.

        Sometimes a specific date is not given and the timing is left to the discretion of the Secretary of State for the relevant government department. An act can therefore come into force by way of a Statutory Instrument called a 'Commencement Order' or 'Commencement Regulation'.

        Future changes to the law happen through the passing of another Act or delegated legislation (e.g. secondary legislation such as Statutory Instruments). The change, or amendment, can itself be subject to coming into force immediately, on a specific future date, or in stages. An Act can also be repealed so that its provisions are no longer in force.

        On legislation.gov.uk we provide details about complex in force scenarios by way of I-note annotations on our revised versions. Please note that our enacted versions do not provide any information about in force/commencement.


        Legislation.gov.uk carries most (but not all) types of legislation and their accompanying explanatory documents. For further details of how complete our data set is for each type, click on a legislation type from the Browse Legislation page and see the colour coded bar for each year. It also contains legislation originating from the European Union, including corrigenda (correction slips for EU legislation) and EU Directives published up to EU exit. See EU Legislation and UK Law for more information.

        • All primary legislation from 1988 – present day is available on this site (see 'Why isn't the legislation I am looking for on this site?' for details of any known legislation we do not carry). Most pre-1988 primary legislation is available on this site. In some cases we only have the original published (as enacted) version and no revised version. This occurs if the legislation was wholly repealed before 1991 and therefore was not included in the revised data set when it was extracted from Statutes in Force. In other cases we may only have a revised version if the original (as enacted) version is not available in a web-publishable format.
        • All secondary legislation from 1987, including UK Statutory Instruments, Scottish Statutory Instruments and Northern Ireland Statutory Rules. In addition we hold a selection of secondary legislation from 1948-1986, and selected pre-1948 Statutory Rules and Orders
        • Legislation originating from the EU as set out in Schedule 5 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (c. 16) along with corrigenda (correction slips for EU legislation) and EU Directives published up to the end of the EU Exit Implementation Period on 31 December 2020 ("IP completion day"). See EU Legislation and UK Law for further information.


        Most types of primary legislation (e.g. Acts, Measures, N.I. Orders in Council) are held in 'revised' form, as well as selected secondary legislation, and legislation originating from the EU:

        • Public General Acts of the United Kingdom Parliament (1801 to date)
        • Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain (1707 – 1800)
        • Acts of the English Parliament (1267 – 1706)
        • Acts of the Old Scottish Parliament (1424 – 1707)
        • Acts of the Scottish Parliament (1999 to date)
        • Acts of Senedd Cyrmu (2020 to date)
        • Acts of the National Assembly for Wales (2012 to 2020)
        • Measures of the National Assembly for Wales (2008 – 2011)
        • Acts of the Irish Parliament (1495 – 1800)
        • Acts of the Parliament of Northern Ireland (1921 – 1972)
        • Measures of the Northern Ireland Assembly (1974)
        • Orders in Council made under the Northern Ireland Acts (1972 to date) (effectively the primary legislation for Northern Ireland under direct rule, though in the form of Statutory Instruments)
        • Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly (2000 – 2002 and 2007 to date)
        • Church of England Measures (1920 to date)
        • UK Statutory Instruments (2018 to date)
        • Scottish Statutory Instruments (2018 to date)
        • Welsh Statutory Instruments (2018 to date)
        • Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland (2018 to date)
        • European Regulations (1958 to 31 December 2020)
        • European Decisions (1953 to 31 December 2020)
        • European Directives (1959 to 31 December 2020)

        Revised versions of some secondary legislation (e.g. Statutory Instruments) are also held on legislation.gov.uk. More secondary legislation is being revised as part of our work and will be published as it becomes available.

        By 'revised' we mean that amendments made by subsequent legislation are incorporated into the text. Most secondary legislation is not currently revised and is held only in the form in which they were originally made.

        The originating text of the revised primary content was derived mainly from the publication Statutes in Force (SIF), a 'loose-leaf' style official edition of the revised statute book arranged according to subject matter. SIF was regularly updated with the effects of new legislation made until 1 February 1991. The date of this final revision became the 'base date' from which the revised content has been taken forward on the web. SIF did not generally include certain categories of legislation, such as Statute Law Revision Acts, Statute Law (Repeals) Acts and Acts extending only to Northern Ireland. (For further details, see the Guide to Revised Legislation on legislation.gov.uk at page 6). The other main source of revised legislation held on legislation.gov.uk is The Northern Ireland Statutes Revised, the official revised version of the primary legislation of Northern Ireland. The content of the numbered volumes and their supplements covering the period from 1921 onwards has been incorporated into legislation.gov.uk as it stood at 31 December 2005.

        See EU Legislation and UK Law for more information on revised legislation originating from the EU.


        Revising legislation on legislation.gov.uk involves amending the text of the legislation where appropriate and adding annotations containing information about effects on legislation, or other editorial information.

        We aim to present the revised text of legislation clearly and accurately without gloss or comment, giving authority for changes to the text, and recording any other effects that make some difference to the meaning, scope or application of the legislation. But otherwise, we aim to let the legislation speak for itself precisely as the legislature has framed it.

        When we receive a new piece of legislation, a newly enacted Act for example, we analyse it to identify all its impacts on other legislation. These are mostly amendments to the text of the other legislation. But there are also many effects that do not change the text, such as when the other legislation is said to be 'applied' or 'modified'. We also note other information about new primary legislation, such as when it comes into force and its geographical extent or territorial application. We use this information when setting up the timeline and extent facilities for the legislation and its provisions on legislation.gov.uk.

        An 'as enacted' version of the legislation is published on legislation.gov.uk shortly after it is enacted. Once we have entered all of the impacts on other legislation, and inserted any annotations needed at this stage about commencement or extent, we publish a 'Latest Available (Revised)' version.

        Once we have analysed the legislation, we tabulate the extracted information about its effects on other legislation and add it to 'Changes to Legislation'. We aim to do this as soon as possible, but it can take up to six weeks if the document is large or if there is a high volume of new legislation. If the primary legislation on legislation.gov.uk has any unapplied effects, we flag them in the 'Changes to Legislation' banner on the website. Clicking on the banner reveals the outstanding changes.

        We aim to incorporate new amendments into the text of the legislation within three months of those amendments coming into force.

        Full details about how we edit legislation and apply changes can be read in our 犀牛坦克Guide to Revised Legislation.


        Schedule 5 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (c. 16), as amended by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 Sch.5 para. 48, requires that we make arrangements for the publication of EU Regulations, EU Decisions, and EU tertiary legislation published on EUR-Lex on IP completion day.

        It also requires four international agreements to be published – the Treaty on European Union, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Euratom Treaty, and the EEA agreement. These are now published on legislation.gov.uk.

        The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 also gives the power to publish other legislation documents that may be useful, and legislation.gov.uk therefore also includes corrigenda (correction slips for EU legislation) and EU Directives as published on EUR-Lex. We captured and published these up to IP completion day.

        The EU Exit Web Archive contains a wider selection of documents, including Treaties, legislative documents, the Official Journal of the EU, case law and other supporting materials, and judgements of the European Court of Justice in English, French and German. We captured these from EUR-Lex up to IP completion day.