2. Accessibility of Legislation

Under the heading Access to Legislation, the Commission is involved in three connected activities (Revised Acts, the Legislation Directory and the Classified List of In-Force Legislation) that are aimed at ensuring greater online accessibility of legislation. This derives from one of the Commission's statutory functions under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 to keep the law under review and to conduct research with a view to reforming the law, which includes the revision and consolidation of legislation. The Commission is also engaged in a project to support the consolidation or codification of legislation.

2.1 Revised Acts

In 2006, the Government requested the Commission, consistent with its statutory functions under the 1975 Act, to assume responsibility for the preparation of Revised Acts (at that time, Restatements). A Revised Act is an administrative consolidation of that Act-as-amended, and brings together in a single text all amendments and changes to an Act, making the law more accessible for all users. For example, the Bankruptcy Act 1988 and the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 have been amended many times since they were enacted, and it is therefore important to have available an up-to-date version that incorporates all amendments to them. The Commission currently publishes, and maintains up to date, over 260 Revised Acts on this website. For more information on Revised Acts, click here.

2.2 Legislation Directory: Amendments to Legislation and Other Effects

The Legislation Directory (previously called the Chronological Tables of the Statutes) is a publicly available database that documents amendments made to all Acts enacted since 1922; and to those pre-1922 Acts that remain in force in accordance with the Statute Law Revision Act 2007. The Commission has had functional responsibility for the development and maintenance of the Legislation Directory since 2007, since when it has added a number of enhancements, including commencement information and other legislative effects to Acts enacted since 2000; and a (partial) Legislation Directory that (currently) tracks amendments made to statutory instruments since 1999. The Legislation Directory is hosted on the electronic Irish Statute Book, eISB, at www.irishstatutebook.ie where (since February 2016) it now consists of an integrated link from the full text of each Act. For more information on the Legislation Directory click here.

2.3 Classified List of In-Force Legislation in Ireland

In 2010, the Commission developed a Classified List of In-Force Legislation in Ireland, which groups under 36 subject headings all Acts enacted by the Oireachtas since 1922 that remain in force (over 2,000 of the 3,000 enacted since 1922), together with over 100 of the most significant pre-1922 Acts that remain in force. The Classified List identifies related groups of Acts, for example, all those dealing with business regulation, criminal law, employment law, family law and taxation, which assists accessibility for all those affected by the law, whether individuals, businesses or State bodies. The Commission regularly publishes updates of the Classified List on this website. In 2016 the Commission will publish a companion draft Classified List of In-Force Statutory Instruments, using the same 36 headings in the Classified List of In-Force Acts. For more information on the Classified List, click here.

2.4 Consolidation/Codification/Simplification of Legislation

In 2014, the Commission began work on its project concerning the consolidation, codification and simplification of legislation (4th Programme of Law Reform, Project 11). This project examines how legislation is produced and published in order to support its availability in consolidated or codified form and builds on the Commission’s Access to Legislation work, above. The project examines the procedures, processes and standards for the enactment of codification Bills and the retention of codified Acts as they are amended over time. The project will identify suitable areas of law for codification based on the 36 headings of the Classified List of Legislation in Ireland which includes the headings “Civil Liability (Contract and Tort) and Dispute Resolution,” “Family Law” and “Criminal Law,” a draft code for which has already been prepared by the Criminal Law Codification Advisory Committee. The project also explores challenges identified by the Office of the Attorney General in relation to drafting legislation that underscore the need for ongoing codification. It also examines developments that support the process of authoring and managing legislative text, including the Statute Law Revision project, the work of the eLegislation Group under the auspices of the Department of the Taoiseach and the introduction of technological tools such as the Legislation Work Bench (LWB). The Commission published an Issues Paper on this project (LRC IP 11-2016) Issues Paper on Accessibility, Consolidation and Online Publication of Legislation in December 2016.

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