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Opening and Viewing Legislation

You can open and view legislation on SLD at any level, from a single whole item of legislation, such as an Act, down to the lowest level of division. The lowest level element of division on SLD is the section (of an Act), paragraph (of a Schedule) or the equivalent in other legislation types. This lowest level element is referred to generally in this Help as a provision.


Example 'Results within Legislation' page for the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Act 2003 (c.10), from which you can view a whole Part ('Part 1 Referendums'), a whole cross-heading ('Referendums'), and a whole section ('5 Referendum period')


Let's say that in the example Results within Legislation page above you decide to click on the cross-heading 'Referendums' to see the sections it contains. What you get is the text of all the six sections that make up the 'Referendums' cross-heading. The top of the page you now see looks like this:



This header shows the levels of the hierarchy above the one you're currently viewing. Below this comes the heading of the level you are currently viewing, which is 'Referendums', followed by each of its six sections. For display purposes we've shown this with just the heading and first paragraph of each section in the illustration below.



Notice that for each of these sections there is a circular icon containing a grey 'A' to the left of the section heading. This is the Closed level – click to open icon. You can click on one of these icons to view details for that level of the legislation only. For instance, if you click on the grey 'A' to the left of ‘5 Referendum period’, the text and attributes of section 5 only will be displayed:



At whichever level you are viewing the text of legislation, you will see this icon to the left of the top heading:



This is the Open level with attributes icon, and by clicking on it you are taken directly to the table of attributes at the foot of the page. In the example above this is unnecessary since the table is on view anyway. But for long tracts of text this saves you from scrolling right down to the bottom of the page. Note that these attributes relate only to the level currently on view. Each level in the hierarchy has its own attributes, and there may be different attributes for different levels.


Because of the hierarchical structure of legislation on SLD, described in Main Body and Schedules, moving between provisions may require moving up or down through the levels. You may find it easier to use SLD if you decide in advance at what level you need to open the legislation. For example, do you just want to see a specific section, or do you perhaps want to see it first in the context of the surrounding provisions?


As we have seen in the above example, you can reach section 5 either by selecting it individually from the ‘Results within legislation’ page, or you can move down to it through the hierarchy, by first opening ‘Part 1 Referendums’ or the cross-heading ‘Referendums’, or each of those in turn, before opening section 5 on its own. At each level opened you can, of course, scroll through and view the full text of all provisions within it, with their annotations, but you would only see the attributes for the level you have currently opened.


If, having displayed section 5 on its own, you then wish to move to another provision nearby, such as the ‘next’ (section 6) or ‘previous’ (section 4), you will have to go back up to a higher level from which that other provision can be accessed. This can be achieved in one of two ways:






‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ levels. The level at which a piece of legislation is opened is called the ‘open level’. Lower levels within an opened level are called ‘closed levels’. In this case, if you have opened the cross-heading ‘Referendums’, that is the ‘open level’ and section 5 is a ‘closed’ level within it. What we mean here by ‘closed’ is that, although you can see all the text of section 5 (and any annotations relating to it), you would have to go on to ‘open’ section 5 in order to view the attributes of that section or to see what other versions of section 5 there may be and to navigate between them.



See also



Parent topic

Structure of Legislation