Law Reform Commission Publishes Draft Classified List of In-Force Legislation in Ireland

By John Harding, Tuesday, 31st May 2016 | 0 comments
Filed under: 2016.




 Tuesday 31st May 2016: The Law Reform Commission has today published on its website a Draft Classified List of in-force Legislation in Ireland.

 Since 2010, the Commission has been publishing and updating a Classified List of in-force Acts, containing a list of all 2,000 Acts that remain in force since the State was established in 1922 (another 1,000 enacted since 1922 have already been repealed).

The Draft List being published today involves a new phase towards the development of a Classified List that will contain a definitive list not only of Acts but also statutory instruments made under those Acts (they usually in the form of Ministerial Regulations). It is therefore the first list compiled and published in the State that seeks to include all in-force legislation in Ireland. It contains a list of over 2,000 Acts and over 15,000 statutory instruments that are currently law.

The Commission is publishing it as a Draft Classified List in order to receive further feedback and comments on its content, and will update it periodically.

The List aims to include all in-force Acts and related statutory instruments up to the end of April 2016. They are listed under 36 subject-matter headings, and also identity the relevant Government Department that is responsible for each statutory instrument.

One of the main benefits of the Draft List is that users of legislation will for the first time be able find, by subject matter, all legislation related to an area of law, for example, all statutory instruments made under the Child Care Act 1991 (there are over 20 such instruments). The Commission hopes that the Draft List will therefore be of use to all, including the general public, the legal profession, the business community, statutory bodies and local and central government.

The List contains over 2,000 in force Acts, and over 15,000 statutory instruments which are in force or appear to be in force of the known 35,000 instruments made since 1922.  This means that around 20,000 statutory instruments have already been formally revoked and they have not been included in the Draft List. A proportion of the 15,000 statutory instruments may also be obsolete or have been superseded but not formally revoked, and notes to this effect are included in the Draft List in relation to over 3,000 statutory instruments.  The Commission is inviting feedback as to whether the views expressed in this draft List concerning these apparently obsolete instruments are correct, or whether certain instruments remain relevant and should be retained as being in force.  The Commission is also inviting feedback to identify apparently in-force instruments which are in fact obsolete or which have been superseded. Comments and feedback can be sent to

Apart from seeking to identify statutory instruments and clarify their status, the Commission hopes that the List can also serve as a source of information for the formal revocation of obsolete statutory instruments in due course.  This will assist in making legislation more accessible by eliminating dead wood and allowing still in-force instruments to be quickly and reliably identified.

For further information/interview with a Commission representative contact:

Winifred McCourt, McCourt CFL T: 087-2446004

 Background Notes for Editors

The Law Reform Commission is an independent statutory body whose main role is to keep the law under review and to make proposals for reform. To date, the Commission has published over 200 documents (Working Papers, Consultation Papers, Issues Papers and Reports) containing reform proposals, available at About 70% of the Commission’s reform proposals has influenced the enactment of reforming legislation.

The Commission’s work also includes Access to Legislation, which comprises three related elements of which the Classified List of In-Force Legislation is one, the other two elements being the Legislation Directory and Revised Acts.

The Legislation Directory, which is updated at least every two months, consists of a list of all amendments to all Acts of the Oireachtas that remain in force (over 2,000) and all pre-1922 Acts that remain in force (over 1,000). This is of vital importance to allow users of legislation to trace how legislation has been amended. The Legislation Directory is published on the electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB), The full text of all Acts of the Oireachtas as they were enacted is available on the eISB and the entry for each Act on the eISB contains a link to a related table, previously separately published online as the Legislation Directory. The Legislation Directory tables for Acts enacted since 1999 includes information on: (a) commencement of the Act, (b) secondary legislation (for example Regulations) made under the Act and (c) amendments to the Act.

The third element of the Commission’s work on Access to Legislation concerns Revised Acts, which are administrative consolidations of Acts, or "Acts-as amended". The full text of over 270 Acts-as-amended is available here. In 2008, when the Commission published its first programme of work in this area, a group of over 100 pre-2006 Acts was selected for publishing in Revised Act form on the basis of a consultative process based on a number of criteria: (a) whether the Act is in frequent use; (b) whether it was previously easily accessible to the public; and (c) whether the Revised Act might ease the regulatory burden on business.  In addition, all textually amended Acts from 2006 onwards, other than Finance and Social Welfare Acts, are published in Revised Act form as they are amended.