The Scottish Parliament and law making
The Scottish Parliament and law making

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4 Acts of the UK Parliament

Copies of all Acts of the Parliament sitting at Westminster have been kept since 1497. Most of these are kept in the House of Lords Record Office in the Victoria Tower at Westminster and are available for public inspection on arrangement with the Clerk of the Records. The oldest Act held in the Victoria Tower dates from 1497 and is entitled ‘The Taking of Apprentices for Worsteads in the County of Norfolk Act’.

Box 3 The title of an Act of the UK Parliament

Acts before 1962 use the following reference:

Year of reign (known as Regnal Year)/Monarch/chapter number to define a chapter of the appropriate statute book. The terminology ‘chapter’ arises because the very earliest Acts were regarded as parts of a single statute passed at one meeting of Parliament. For example, ‘16 Charles II c.2’ was the second Act passed during the session of Parliament that fell during the 16th year of the reign of Charles II. Another example is the Bills of Sale Act of 1854 known as 17 & 18 Vict c.36.

Since 1962, the Regnal Year has been replaced by the calendar year.

Now all Acts of Parliament have a name and date, for example, the Road Traffic Act 1961. The name usually reflects the subject matter of the Act and the date indicates the year in which the Act passed through Parliament. Acts also have a number (for example, the Road Traffic Act was No. 50 of 1961 – that is, it was the 50th Act passed in 1961).

You should now watch the following video which considers the Farriers (Registration) Act 2017.

Download this video clip.Video player: boc_wxm151_1_video_week5_readingactofukparliament.mp4
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