A law enacted by a parliament or similar legislative body. In the UK, Acts may be made by the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly. Historically, Acts were also made by the parliaments that met before the UK came into existence (the pre-UK Parliaments) and by the Parliament of Northern Ireland (1921 to 1972).
Acts are a form of primary legislation.
A provision hit by an effect.
A provision that gives rise to an effect.
An effect that changes the text of legislation. The term ‘amended’ is also sometimes used on SLD to indicate an effect that changes the meaning of the legislation even though the text itself is not changed.
A note that appears at the foot of a provision (or under the associated heading if relating to a higher-level division) and which gives authority for an effect or extra information about the provision in general or a specific part of that provision.
Each annotation has a reference number and the nature of the information it contains is conveyed by the annotation type. For instance, F-notes identify amendments where there is authority to change the text, and I-notes contain information about the coming into force of a provision.
For full details of annotation types and what they mean, see Annotation Types on SLD.
Items of information attached to versions of legislation on SLD denoting properties of the legislative text.
Attributes for the currently displayed version of a provision (or other level of division) are shown in a table at the bottom of the open level you are viewing, and are accessible through the Open level with attributes icon.
SLD's search engine refers to the attributes to determine whether a version of a provision matches the search criteria you specify.
For further information, see Attributes.
The date to which the originating text of SLD had been revised and from which revision work has been carried forward on SLD.
For most types of revised legislation on SLD, the basedate is 1 February 1991.
The originating text of SLD was derived mainly from ‘Statutes in Force’ (SIF), an earlier official edition of the revised statute book. The final revision of SIF incorporated all effects made by legislation enacted up to 1 February 1991, but the effects of a small number of consolidation Acts enacted after the basedate, in 1991 and 1992, were also incorporated.
For the revised legislation of Northern Ireland there is a separate basedate of 1 January 2006.
The originating text for this legislation is ‘The Northern Ireland Statutes Revised’, the official edition of the revised statute book for Northern Ireland. The text is now incorporated into SLD revised with the effects of legislation made up to 31 December 2005.
An effect that is framed in such a way as to affect legislation generally rather than any specific enactment. For further information see Blanket Amendment.
number of an Act (except an Act
of the Scottish Parliament) is called a ‘Chapter number’. For example,
the Police Reform Act 2002 is Chapter 30 in the year 2002. ‘Chapter’ is
usually abbreviated thus:
Police Reform Act 2002 (c. 30)
A numbered level of division within an Act or other legislation. Chapters generally come below Parts but above cross-headings in the hierarchy.
A type of secondary legislation made by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York under authority contained in Church Measures. For further information see Church Instruments.
A lower level of legislation within the open level of legislation that you are currently viewing.
You can open up a closed level of legislation by selecting the Closed level - click to open icon in the left hand margin adjacent to the heading of that division of the legislation.
What is meant by ‘closed’ here is that, although you can see all the text and annotations within that lower level from the open level, you would have to go on to ‘open’ the lower level in order to view the attributes for that level or to see what other versions of that lower level of division there may be.
"coming into force" date
The date on which a legislative provision or an effect comes into force. Also known as the commencement date.
The coming into force of a provision or an effect.
The commencement of a piece of legislation may be determined by a provision of the legislation itself, referred to as the ‘commencement provision', or it may be determined by a special type of Statutory Instrument known as a ‘Commencement Order’.
Two or more versions of a provision (or other level of division of legislation) resulting from a substitution of text (or of the whole provision etc.) affecting only part of the original geographical extent of the provision. Such versions are ‘concurrent’ in that they 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 concurrent 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.
For further information see Concurrent versions.
This term is used where a provision confers power to make secondary legislation. For further information see Confers Power.
In primary legislation, an italic heading that indicates the subject matter of a provision or group of provisions beneath it. In the hierarchical structure of legislation, it comes below Part or Chapter level but above the level of the lowest level of provision, such as the section in an Act.
It is called a cross-heading because it is usually centred, running across the page. However, in the new style of drafting adopted for most primary legislation since 1991, cross-headings in Schedules (but not in the main body) are ranged left.
Note that in secondary legislation there are elements called cross-headings that may appear differently to those in primary legislation and do not necessarily serve the same function. For details of the headings used in secondary legislation, see the guidance in ‘The Statutory Instrument Practice’ at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si-practice.doc.
A term we use to denote any one of the hierarchical levels into which a piece of legislation may be divided.
For instance, the two main divisions of an Act are the main body and the schedules, and these are preceded by the long title, the short title and any other introductory text. Lower levels of division within the main body and schedules may include Parts, Chapters and cross-headings. The lowest levels of division in an Act are sections (in the main body) or paragraphs (in the schedules).
For further information see Structure of Legislation.
Any impact that one legislative provision may have on another. The most familiar type of effect is an amendment that changes the text of the affected legislation, but there are also types of effect that do not change the text, such as where a provision is said to be ‘modified’ or ‘applied’. Other events, such as the commencement of a provision, are also treated as effects for SLD purposes.
Note that a piece of legislation, such as an Act, may contain internal effects. For example, a provision in an Act may modify or apply some other provision in the same Act. These internal effects are not generally annotated on SLD. The main exception is where an Act amends its own text, which may happen, for example, when an Act repeals itself, or part of itself, at some future date. Also, certain internal effects to do with commencement and extent may be recorded.
The date on which a version is succeeded by a new version or otherwise ceases to have effect. For further information see End Date.
Exercise of power
This expression may be used in annotations in a provision that confers power to make secondary (or subordinate) legislation to record the making of instruments under that power. See P-notes – subordinate legislation made.
The geographical area within the UK to which legislation applies.
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.
Every version of every provision, and every higher level of division, within a piece of legislation is assigned its own extent attribute. For further details see Extent.
‘Hierarchy’ and ‘hierarchical structure’ are terms we use to denote the levels of division within a piece of legislation on SLD and the relationship between them. For example, the level of a cross-heading in an Act comes below the Part level in the hierarchy, but above the section level.
A term we use to denote the text elements at the top of an item of legislation, below the title (or short title) but above the main body. In an Act, this will typically consist of the long title, the date the Act received the Royal Assent, and a conventional form of words to give effect to the Act called the ‘words of enactment’. For further details see Titles and Introductory Text.
The generic term for laws of any type. The terms ‘piece of legislation’ and ‘item of legislation’ are used in Help to mean a whole legislative document of any type, for example an Act or Statutory Instrument. For further information on legislation generally, see Introduction to UK Legislation.
Acts and Measures have two titles, the ‘short title’ and the ‘long title’. The ‘long title’ sets out the purposes of the Act, sometimes at great length, whereas the ‘short title’ is a more convenient short form by which the Act will usually be known. For example, the Petroleum Act 1998 (short title) has a long title that reads:
‘An Act to consolidate certain enactments about petroleum, offshore installations and submarine pipelines.’
On SLD, the long title forms part of the introductory text of the legislation.
The date on which a Statutory Instrument, or other item of secondary legislation, is formally brought into being. It may come into force at a different date. Secondary legislation is usually said to be ‘made’, as opposed to Acts and other primary legislation which are usually said to be ‘enacted’. For this reason, the phrase ‘made or enacted’ may be used in Help when referring to legislation generally.
A term we use to denote the main structural division of an item of legislation, coming after the introductory text but before the schedules.
A type of primary legislation passed by the General Synod of the Church of England – see Church of England Measures.
A type of primary legislation passed by the short-lived Northern Ireland Assembly in 1974 (the present Northern Ireland Assembly passes Acts) – see Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly (and other primary legislation for Northern Ireland).
The level at which you currently have a piece of legislation on SLD opened. A lower level of the legislation within the level you have opened is referred to as a closed level.
The open level always has a Open level with attributes icon in its top left-hand corner which takes you to the table of attributes at the bottom of the open level.
Order in Council
A type of Statutory Instrument, notably used to make primary legislation for Northern Ireland during periods of direct rule. For further information see Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
A provision, usually numbered, constituting on SLD the lowest level of division in a Schedule. (But note that the term ‘paragraph’ may also be used in legislation to denote certain levels of sub-division within a provision.)
A division of the main body or a schedule in an item of legislation, usually forming part of a numbered sequence of Parts.
A Part may be further subdivided hierarchically into Chapters, cross-headings and numbered sections (or paragraphs, if in a schedule).
Generally used on SLD to mean a power to make secondary (or subordinate) legislation contained in a provision that ‘confers power’. The making of an item of secondary legislation in pursuance of such a power is referred to as an ‘exercise of power’.
Words appearing near the beginning of an Act after the long title, stating the reasons for passing the Act. The use of preambles is optional and they are now rare. Any preamble would appear in the introductory text.
General term used to describe the main laws passed by the legislative bodies of the UK. It is to be distinguished from secondary legislation. For further information see Division into Primary and Secondary Legislation.
A term we use to indicate that a provision or an amendment has not yet come into force.
A version of a provision (or other level of division of legislation) with no start date, created as a result of an amendment that has not yet come into force.
A ‘provision’ can, in principle, mean any discrete element in a piece of legislation that has legislative effect. In Help, unless the context suggests otherwise, the term is used to mean the lowest level element of division on SLD.
In the case of an Act, this lowest level of division is the section (in the main body) or the paragraph (in a schedule).
A schedule in an item of legislation, usually at the end, in which the legislative provisions repealed by that legislation are listed.
We use the terms ‘revise’, ‘revised’ and ‘revision’ to refer to the editorial process of incorporating amendments and carrying through other effects into legislation.
An item of legislation may have one or more schedules following the main body. Where this is the case, the Schedules (collectively) constitute a major structural division within the legislation. Within this higher level of division, there may be either a single Schedule or a series of numbered Schedules.
Scottish Statutory Instrument
A type of secondary legislation made under authority contained in Acts of the Scottish Parliament. For further information see Scottish Statutory Instruments.
Delegated legislation made by a person or body under authority contained in primary legislation. It is also referred to as ‘subordinate legislation’. For further information see Division into Primary and Secondary Legislation.
A provision, usually numbered, constituting on SLD the lowest level of division in the main body of an Act or other primary legislation.
The title by which an Act or Measure is usually known. It is to be distinguished from the long title, which sets out the purposes of the legislation.
The start date of a version is the earliest date for which it had effect to any extent or for any purpose. For further information see Start Date.
An item of primary legislation, such as an Act or Measure.
A term we use to denote the totality of the statute law in force at any particular time.
A type of secondary legislation made under authority contained in Acts of Parliament. For further information see Statutory Instruments.
Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland
A type of secondary legislation, they are the Northern Ireland equivalent of Statutory Instruments. For further information see Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland.
See secondary legislation.
Any sub-division of a provision.
A successive version of a provision (or higher level of division of legislation) is a new version that replaces an earlier version. A new version is created whenever the text is amended. For further information see Successive Versions.
A provision (or higher level of division of legislation) may exist in any number of different versions, usually created as a result of amendments made to it. For further information see Versioning of Legislation.
Words of enactment
Formal words of legislative intent appearing at the beginning of an Act after the Long Title. Words of enactment appear in the introductory text.