The start date is the earliest date for which the version had effect to any extent or for any purpose.
The start date of the first version of a provision will be set to the earliest date on which that provision was in force to any extent or for any purpose (or the basedate if that was later). In the case of higher levels of division, the start date of the earliest version must be no later than the earliest start date of any version of any provision beneath it in the hierarchy.
The start date of a new version of a provision or higher level of division, created as a result of an amendment or other effect, will be the earliest date at which that effect came into force to any extent or for any purpose and the previous version will be stopped at that date. For example:
A section extending to England and Wales is substituted in relation to the whole of that extent, but the substitution is brought into force for England on 1.1.2006 and for Wales on 1.2.2006. The start date of the new version will be 1.1.2006.
A sub-section is substituted and the new text contains a power to make subordinate legislation but does other things as well. The amendment is brought into force on 1.4.2006 for the purpose only of exercising the power to make subordinate legislation. It is otherwise not in force. The new version will be given a start date of 1.4.2006.
It follows that stopped versions may sometimes remain valid for some purposes. Where this is the case, it will be explained in the annotation for the amendment that gave rise to the new version.
Secondary legislation has assigned to it as the start date the “coming into force” date that appears in the italic headings at the top of the document. Where no such date appears (as is the case for commencement orders, for example), the “made" date is assigned as the start date instead. In such cases, the assigned start date may not reflect the actual commencement position. (Note also that for pre-2003 instruments where no “coming into force” date appeared the start date was left blank.)