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Legislation

The text of many public, local and private acts as well as statutory instruments and secondary legislation/regulations can be accessed online for free, or via paid subscription services.

If you need help identifying relevant acts and understanding the processes behind the introduction of legislation you might find it useful to explore the Making Laws webpages produced by the Houses of Parliament.

Public Acts

  • Original (as enacted) and revised UK legislation, 1988-present
    Legislation.gov.uk
    (Free service, text of the legislation)
  • Statues of the Realm 1628-1701
    British History Online
    (Free service, digital images and text of the legislation)
  • Acts of Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660
    British History Online
    (Free service, digital images and text of the legislation)
  • Curated collection of legislation, 1235-present
    JUSTIS
    (Subscription service, available in law libraries, text of the legislation)

Local and Private Acts

  • Original (as enacted) and revised local legislation, 1991-present
    Legislation.gov.uk
    (Free service, text of legislation)
  • Curated collection of private and local bills and acts, 1695-1834
    UK Parliamentary Papers
    (Subscription service, available in universities and large reference libraries, digital images of the legislation)

UK Statutory Instruments

  • Original (as enacted) and revised statutory instruments, 1987-present
    Legislation.gov.uk
    (Free service, text of legislation)
  • Secondary legislation including regulations, 1671-present.
    JUSTIS
    (Subscription service, available in UK law libraries, text of legislation)

Accessing UK legislation offline

The Parliamentary Archives holds physical copies of:

  • Public, local, personal and private acts, 1497-present
  • UK statutory instruments, 1891-1987

Universities and large reference libraries are also likely to hold printed copies of UK legislation.

Copies of local statutory instruments can be very hard to obtain. You might wish to consult The National Archives UK research guide covering statutory instruments or contact the British Library Official Publications section. The Parliamentary Archives do not hold copies of local statutory instruments.