Alma Clissmann: Classified list of in-force legislation can now be accessed online
Alma Clissmann of the Law Reform Commission sets out the body’s recent work to maintain an online list of in-force legislation.
The Law Reform Commission’s online Classified List of In-Force Legislation went live in January this year and is available on the Commission’s website here.
Some key features to note:
- It contains a searchable list of over 2,000 in-force Acts and over 15,000 statutory instruments organised under 36 Subject Headings or Titles.
- The 36 Subject Headings or Titles include: Business Regulation, Commercial Law, Criminal Law, Environment, Family Law, Health and Health Services, Land Law, Oireachtas (National Parliament) and Legislation, Taxation and Transport.
- The 36 Subject Headings or Titles are broken down into over 500 sub-headings, and the relevant Acts and statutory instruments can be found listed in those sub-headings.
- The search facility allows you to search for either:
- the name of any Act or statutory instrument, or
- any of the 36 headings and over 500 sub-headings in the List.
- All of the 2,000 Acts and 15,000 statutory instruments are linked to their full text on the electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB) or, where available, a Revised Act version (administrative consolidation) prepared by the Commission. Currently, the Commission maintains over 370 Revised Acts.
For example, suppose you want to find every mention of “Taxi” in the Classified List. The search facility will show you results including one Act, the Taxi Regulation Act 2013, and 19 Statutory Instruments. What if you want to look up the full text of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013? Click on the 2013 Act from the search results, and the link brings you to Heading 36.6.1 in the Classified List (“Regulation Generally: National Transport Authority and Road Safety Authority”) where the 2013 Act is listed. Click on it again and you get the Revised Act version, because this is one of over 370 Revised Acts now available. If a Revised Act version is not available, you will be brought to the full text of the particular Act, as enacted, on the eISB (which also contains a link to the Legislation Directory entry for each Act, so that you can track all amendments made to it).
The development of the Classified List of In-Force Legislation arose from the Commission’s general statutory mandate under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 to keep under review the law of Ireland, which includes the revision and consolidation of legislation. It also arose from the Commission’s participation in the eLegislation Group, chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach. It complements the Commission’s work on Revised Acts, the Legislation Directory and the pre-1922 Statute Law Revision Programme.
In 2010, the Commission published a Consultation Paper on a Classified List of Legislation in Ireland (LRC CP 62-2010) listing all Acts in force, which placed the development of the Classified List in a wider national and comparative setting. In particular, the Consultation Paper noted that classified lists of legislation, or legislative codes as they are often called, have been developed in other States, notably at both federal and state level in the United States of America. Another significant development followed in 2016, which was the publication of the first Classified List of Legislation comprising Acts and Statutory Instruments in Ireland.
The Commission has drawn attention to a number of important limitations concerning the current version of the Classified List:
- The Classified List contains a list of over 2,000 in-force post-1922 Acts of the Oireachtas and post-1922 statutory instruments, but of over 1,000 pre-1922 Acts that remain in force, the List contains just over 100 of these. The Commission intends to add the remaining pre-1922 in-force Acts over time. A list of these Acts is available in the Statute Law Revision Act 2007, Schedule 1 (retained pre-1922 Public Acts), the Statute Law Revision Act 2009 (retained pre-1922 Private Acts) and the Statute Law Revision Act 2012 (retained pre-1922 Local and Personal Acts).
- The Classified List does not yet contain a complete list of statutory instruments made under section 3 of the European Communities Act 1972, but these are being added in stages. A full list of these section 3 statutory instruments is published on the eISB website.
- Some of the features on these pages work on the newer web browsers including Chrome, Edge and Firefox, but not on Internet Explorer.
Users are kindly asked to notify any errors, omissions and comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Alma Clissmann is a solicitor and the Law Reform Commission’s access to legislation manager.