Guide to Finding English Statutes (UK)
This guide focuses on locating English Statutes using resources in the Legal Research Center. For this guide we will use example citations from The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (18th ed.) (2005)
Table 2: Foreign Jurisdictions: United Kingdom.
Some Notes to Remember about English Statutes:
In England (UK) there is no counterpart to the United States Code in which statutes in force are assigned title and section. Instead, statutes are identified by their original title and date of enactment. Also note that there is no “official” codification of English Statutes. There are, however, unofficial publications that organize by subject the statutes currently in force. The most popular of these is Halsbury’s Statutes of England and Wales (Butterworths).
An English Statute citation in Bluebook form may look like any of these:
|Rule||Citation Format||Example Citation|
|Table 2||For statutes prior to 1963||Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1925, 15 & 16 Geo. 5, c. 49, § 226, sched. 6 (Eng.).|
|Table 2||For statutes enacted since 1963||Airports Authority Act, 1965, c. 16 (Eng.).|
|Table 2||If the name does not include the date or year, give the year parenthetically at the end of the citation.||Hypnotism Act, 15 & 16 Geo.6 & 1 Eliz. 2, c.44, § 117 (1952) (Eng.).|
Where can I find English Statutes in print?
Halsbury's laws of England [LRC Reading Room KD310 . H195]
Today, the most frequently used source of the English statutes is Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales (Butterworths), an unofficial compilation of the statutes in force, including treaties and secondary legislation of the EU. The statutes are arranged in 143 alphabetical titles representing broad subject categories, with annotations following each section.
Statutes in Force [San Diego County Law Library KD132 .S84]
Three editions of the Statutes Revised were published between 1870 and 1950, reprinting all Public Acts in force at the date of publication. They have been replaced by Statutes in Force: Official Revised Edition which began in 1972. Statutes in Force contains all statutes in force from 1235, in subject order along with their amendments. Statutes in Force has not been updated since 1992, and while it should not be used to look for current statutes, it is still useful for historical research.
Where can I find English Statutes online?
The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI)
- All UK Parliament Public General Acts from 1988 onwards in HTML and PDF
- Some UK Parliament Public General Acts from 1837 in PDF where available
The Statute Law Database (SLD)
http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk (HTML only)
- Contains the official revised versions of the primary legislation of the UK that was in force on February 1, 1991, and all Acts passed since then.
Westlaw (HTML only)
- Public General Acts Currently in Force (UK-ST). Contains Sweet & Maxwell’s Statutes in Force. Includes statutes currently in effect in the UK as well as rules of the Supreme Court and county court rules. Coverage begins with 1267.
- United Kingdom Legislation Locator (UK-LEGISLOC). A comprehensive guide to current, historical, and future versions of U.K. statutes and statutory instruments, along with corresponding references to citing case law and secondary sources. Locator coverage for the statutes begins in 1267 and for the statutory instruments begins in 1948.
LexisNexis (HTML only)
- Statutes of England & Wales (ENGGEN; STAT). Contains Butterworths Statutes of England and Wales. This file contains the full, amended text of all public general Acts that are currently in force. Coverage begins with 1267.