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Titles and Introductory Text

The examples of titles and introductory text given here are taken from an Act of the UK Parliament. The specific content of the introductory text may vary considerably from these examples, particularly in the case of secondary legislation.


When you view an item of legislation on a Results within Legislation page the top line is the title of the legislation.



This top-level title in an Act is called the ‘short title’ – in this case the Ragwort Control Act 2003. At the end of this line is the series number of the legislation, and in this instance this number is a chapter number, chapter 40.


The whole of this top line is a hyperlink, as are all the subsequent lines. The second line is a hyperlink to the introductory text that follows the short title of the Act. If you click on this hyperlink you are taken to a new page containing this introductory text, which in this instance looks like this:



Notice that as well as the introductory text of the legislation, the short title is shown at the top.


Now if you click on the Return to results within legislation hyperlink to return to the Results within Legislation page, then click on the top line hyperlink, containing the short title Ragwort Control Act 2003, the whole of the legislation is displayed. In the illustration below we are just showing the legislation as far down as the introductory text.


Example from the Ragwort Control Act 2003 (c.40) showing the short title, chapter number, year, long title, date of Royal Assent and words of enactment


In reality you would then see the sections that make up the main body of the legislation beneath the introductory text. See Main Body and Schedules for details.



If you attempt to open an Act, or division of an Act, larger than 512 kilobytes you will get a message warning you that it may take some time to open.  It is then recommended that you return to the Results within legislation page and open the Act at a lower level. Very large Acts (larger than 2 megabytes)  cannot be opened in their entirety at all and can only be opened at lower levels.


Notice that in the illustration the Royal Coat of Arms appears above the short title. This coat of arms does not appear on all types of legislation – you might see a different heraldic device or, in the case of secondary legislation, a banner containing some text that identifies the type of legislation.



See also



Parent topic

Structure of Legislation