Wednesday 23rd July 2008: The Law Reform Commission’s Report on Statute Law Restatement and Consultation Paper on the Legislation Directory: Towards a Best Practice Model will be launched by the Attorney General, Paul Gallagher SC, at the Commission’s offices at 6:30 pm this evening.
Statute Law Restatement
The Statute Law (Restatement) Act 2002 was one of the responses to the difficulties of establishing what legislation is actually on the Statute Book. Currently, when an amending Act is passed it has to be read alongside the original Act to understand the current law. A Restatement is an administrative consolidation of an Act with its subsequent amendments so that the current position can be read seamlessly in one document. Restatements have the potential to save huge amounts of time currently spent by lawyers and others trying to work out what exactly the legislation says. Once certified by the Attorney General, they can be relied upon in court as evidence of the law, although the original legislation takes precedence if there is a conflict.
In May 2006, responsibility for Statute Law Restatement was transferred from the Office of the Attorney General to the Law Reform Commission by Government decision. In July 2007 the Commission published its Consultation Paper on Statute Law Restatement. The Report being published today sets out legislation to be included in the Commission’s First Programme of Restatement 2008 to 2009.
The Commission’s First Programme of Restatement 2008-2009
Based on submissions received, the Report proposes a First Programme of Restatement from July 2008 to December 2009 which includes 45 Acts and six suites of related legislation. The Programme will include:
- Freedom of Information Act 1997 (close to 100 amendments), Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 (over 70 amendments), Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 2005 and Criminal Procedure Act 1967
- Six suites of related legislation: Ethics in Public Office legislation (3 Acts), Firearms legislation (8 Acts), Civil Liability and Statute of Limitations legislation (13 Acts), Employment Leave legislation (7 Acts), Proceeds of Crime legislation (3 Acts) and Equality legislation (3 Acts)
- Updates to four existing Restatements carried out by the Office of the Attorney General: Sale of Goods Act 1893 and Part II of the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980, Defence Acts 1954 to 1998 and Court Martial Appeals, Tourist Traffic Acts 1939 to 2003, and Succession Act 1965.
The Report also considers submissions received during the consultation period and discusses issues for the Restatement process. The Report contains pre-certified Restatements of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 and the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 2005.
The Legislation Directory (formerly known as the Chronological Tables of the Statutes) is a publicly available database or all primary legislation since 1922 and some secondary legislation. The main purpose of the Legislation Directory is to document modifications made to primary legislation by subsequent legislation. It provides a vital source of information which aids legal professionals, legislators and lay persons to inform themselves as to the current position of the law. The current version of the database is hosted on the Irish Statute Book online website at www.irishstatutebook.ie.
This Consultation Paper arises out of the transfer of responsibility for the Legislation Directory from the Office of the Attorney General to the Law Reform Commission, which was agreed in early 2007. It is part of the Commission’s review of how the Legislation Directory can best serve its user base in terms of content provision and accessibility. The Commission also considers the development of the Legislation Directory into the future. Proposals for improvement of the Directory include more timely updates, the inclusion of comprehensive commencement information for Acts and their individual provisions, and association of secondary legislation with parent Acts.