Statute Law Database launched today

The Department for Constitutional Affairs launched today announced the launch of the first UK Statute Law Database. This is one small victory for Your Right to Know and the Guardian’s Free Our Data campaign. I will be testing out the version in the next few days and give a more full account after Christmas.

The SLD will provide the public for the first time with free access to the laws that govern us.

Baroness Cathy Ashton, Minister at the DCA, said:

“The Statute Law Database provides an authoritative and easy-to-use historical database of UK statute law. I hope it will be welcomed as a useful tool for professionals who need to keep up with changes to the law as well as those who simply have an interest in historic and current legislation.”

The database offers users a range of advanced search and navigation functions across over 30,000 items of UK primary and secondary legislation. The database contains primary legislation that was in force at 1 February 1991 and primary and secondary legislation that has been produced since that date.

The SPO is responsible for maintaining the UK Statute Book by incorporating new legislation on to the database and keeping primary legislation up-to-date by applying the effects contained within subsequent legislation. The primary legislation has been revised to 2002 and is expected to be completely up to date with revisions by the end of 2008.

The SLD also contains Tables of Effects for 2002 onwards that will help users to establish currency on any particular item of primary legislation that they select. New legislation is published on the website as soon as possible after it has been issued.

The database content includes:

  • UK Public General Acts
  • UK Local Acts
  • Acts of the Scottish Parliament
  • Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Statutory Instruments
  • Welsh Statutory Instruments
  • Scottish Statutory Instruments
  • Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland
  • General Synod Measures.

…as well as incorporating all amendments to text and annotating other effects the database also records details concerning commencement and geographical extent of legislation.

The Tables of Effects list all repeals, amendments and other effects of legislation (primary and secondary) enacted from 2002 to the current year on the revised legislation held on SLD. The effects of new legislation are added as soon as possible after it is received from the publisher.

One Response to “Statute Law Database launched today”

  1. Rupert White says:

    Well, let’s see how hard the govt markets and advertises this service to the common man, shall we? It appears that, so far, almost nothing has been done to promote this service to the public barring telling news services about it. In the nine months or so since we wrote about the alpha test of the SLD, I’ve seen nothing about it anywhere you’d think it might be useful … after all, how many non-lawyers read my mag, and how many of the general Sun-reading public read YRTK? As the Arctic Monkeys might say, I don’t know the numbers but I bet they ain’t big.

    This is a great move, the SLD, but it’s just a (relatively) inexpensive propaganda tool for the government (look at us, aren’t we open?) if it doesn’t actively promote it.

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