Spent enactment

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In British law and some related legal terms, an enactment is spent if it is "exhausted in operation by the accomplishment of the purposes for which it was enacted".[1][2]

United Kingdom[edit]

The scope of Statute Law Revision Bills includes the repeal of spent enactments.[3]

The repeal of spent legislation is primarily the responsibility of the Law Commission. They prepare Bills to be passed as Statute Law (Repeals) Acts.

The following types of enactment are now spent on coming into force:

Enactments conferring short titles

Section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978 provides that an Act may continue to be cited by the short title authorised by any enactment notwithstanding the repeal of that enactment. This applies to Acts whenever they were passed.[4]

Accordingly any enactment whose sole effect is to confer a short title on an Act now becomes spent on coming into force; and any enactment already in force whose sole effect is to confer a short title on an Act is also spent.

Those enactments which conferred short titles on large numbers of statutes have been repealed on this basis.[5][6]

Enactments which repeal other enactments

Section 15 of the Interpretation Act 1978 provides that where an Act repeals a repealing enactment, the repeal does not revive any enactment previously repealed unless words are added reviving it. This applies to Acts passed after the year 1850.[7]

Accordingly, any enactment whose sole effect is to repeal another enactment now becomes spent on coming into force; and any enactment, which is already in force, whose sole effect is to repeal another enactment is also spent.

2016 EU Referendum

The European Union Referendum Act 2015 legislated for the holding of the in-out UK-wide referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union. The act legislated for the holding of this referendum no later than December 31 2017 and became spent once it had been held when it took place on 23 June 2016 with 51.9% of voters voting to leave the EU.

Scottish Parliament[edit]

Standing orders may make provision different from that required by section 36(1) of the Scotland Act 1998 for the procedure applicable to Bills which repeal spent enactments.[8]

Part I of Schedule 4 to the Scotland Act 1998 does not prevent an Act of the Scottish Parliament repealing any spent enactment or conferring power by subordinate legislation to do so.[9]

Welsh Assembly[edit]

Assembly Measures

The standing orders may make provision different from that required by section 98(1) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 for the procedure applicable to proposed Assembly Measures which repeal or revoke spent enactments.[10]

Part 2 of Schedule 5 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 does not prevent a provision of an Assembly Measure repealing or revoking any spent enactment, or conferring power by subordinate legislation to do so.[11]

Bills and Acts of the Assembly

The standing orders may make provision different from that required by section 111(1) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 for the procedure applicable to Bills which repeal or revoke spent enactments.[12]

Part 2 of Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 does not prevent an Act of the Assembly repealing or revoking any spent enactment, or conferring power by subordinate legislation to do so.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Federation of Nigeria Law Reports. Volume 2. Page 291. Evans Brothers (Nigeria Publishers) Limited. 1986.
  2. ^ See also the explanatory memorandum to the Bill for the Statute Law Revision Act 1867 at page 4 of the Bill, printed in Bills, Public: 1867, Session 5 February - 21 August 1867, volume 6
  3. ^ Michael Bedford (editor). Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1998. 179th Edition. Vacher Dod Publishing Limited. 1998. ISBN 0-905702-26-3. Page 484.
  4. ^ Interpretation Act 1978, Schedule 2, Part I, paragraph 1 (application of s.19(2) to existing Acts)
  5. ^ The Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1995, Schedule 1, Part IV OPSI.
  6. ^ See the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission, Statute Law Revision: Fifteenth Report, Draft Statute Law Repeals Bill, Law Com 233, Scot Law Com 150, Part IV, pp. 76 - 78 BAILII Scottish Law Commission
  7. ^ Interpretation Act 1978, Schedule 2, Part I, paragraph 2 (application of s.15 to existing Acts)
  8. ^ The Scotland Act 1998, section 36(3)(b)
  9. ^ The Scotland Act 1998, paragraph 7(1)(b) of Schedule 4
  10. ^ The Government of Wales Act 2006, section 98(3)(b)
  11. ^ The Government of Wales Act 2006, paragraph 9 of Schedule 5
  12. ^ The Government of Wales Act 2006, section 111(3)(b)
  13. ^ The Government of Wales Act 2006, paragraph 8 in Part 3 of Schedule 7