Statute law revision may refer to the printing of, or the editorial process of preparing, a revised edition of the statutes, or to the process of repealing obsolete enactments to facilitate the preparation of such an edition, or to facilitate the consolidation of enactments.
Revision of the statutes was regarded by the Parliament of England as desirable as early as 1563 (see the preamble to the 5 Eliz 1 c 4). It was demanded by a petition of the Commons in 1610. Both Coke and Bacon were employed for some time on a commission for revision.
Halsbury's Laws said that the first Act for statute law revision (in the sense of repealing enactments which are obsolete, spent, unnecessary or superseded, or which no longer serve a useful purpose) was the 19 & 20 Vict c 64 (1856).
Preparation etc. of revised editions of the statutes
O. Hood Phillips defined statute law revision as "the reprinting of statute law with the omission of obsolete matter".
Legislation.gov.uk uses the terms "revise", "revised" and "revision" to refer to the editorial process of incorporating amendments and carrying through other effects into legislation.
Repeal of obsolete enactments
The Law Commission said that statute law revision originally referred to the repeal of enactments which had become inoperative, in order to facilitate the preparation of a revised edition of the statutes. They said that they intended to adopt a more forceful approach by also repealing enactments which no longer served a substantial purpose, and that they hoped that this would also facilitate consolidation.
Duty to prepare programmes of statute law revision
It is the duty of the Law Commission to prepare from time to time at the request of the Lord Chancellor comprehensive programmes of statute law revision, and to undertake the preparation of draft Bills pursuant to any such programme approved by the Lord Chancellor.
It is the duty of the Scottish Law Commission to prepare from time to time at the request of the Scottish Ministers comprehensive programmes of statute law revision, and to undertake the preparation of draft Bills pursuant to any such programme approved by the Scottish Ministers.
What legislation effects statute law revision
In 1971, the Law Commission said that not all statute law revision was being done by Statute Law Revision Bills or Statute Law (Repeals) Bills. They said that an example of this was the statute law revision effected by the Theft Act 1968.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Williams, James (1911). "Statute". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Halsbury's Laws of England. Fourth Edition. Reissue. Butterworths. London. 1995. Volume 44(1). Note 3 to paragraph 1227 at page 725.
- O. Hood Phillips. A First Book of English Law. Fourth Edition. Sweet & Maxwell. 1960. Page 90.
- Legislation.gov.uk. Glossary.
- The Law Commission. Law Commission's First Programme on Consolidation and Statute Law Revision. HMSO. London. 1966. Paragraph 14 at page 6.
- The Law Commissions Act 1965, section 3(1)(d) (as read with section 6(2))
- The Law Commissions Act 1965, section 3(1)(d) (as read with section 6(2) as amended by articles 1(2) and 4 of, and paragraph 36(6) of Part I of Schedule 2 to, the Scotland Act 1998 (Consequential Modifications) (No. 2) Order 1999 (SI 1999/1820)).
- The Law Commission. Law Commission's Second Programme on Consolidation and Statute Law Revision. Law Com 44. HMSO. London. Ordered to be printed 20 April 1971. Paragraph 16 at page 6.
- The Law Reform Commission Act 1975, section 1
- Jowitt. Statute Law Revision and Consolidation. 1951.
- Strickland, P. English Statute Law Revised. Analysis of the effect of the Legislation of 1895 and 1896. 2 vols. 1896 - 1897.
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