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Report No. 96

2.2. Principles for Statute law revision in U.K.-

The principles to be followed in the selection of enactments for inclusion in Statute Law Revision Acts afford an interesting topic for discussion. In England, these principles used to be set out in a memorandum that was prefixed to Statute Law Revision Bills.1 The memorandum was in the following (or substantially similar) terms:2

"The first schedule is intended to comprise (as the preamble to the Bill states), besides superfluous words of enactment, enactments which have ceased to be in force otherwise than by express specific repeal, or have by lapse of time or otherwise become unnecessary, and also such parts of titles, preambles, recitals, and enacting words as are intended be omitted in future editions of the statutes under the authority of the Bill.

I. For the purpose of the schedule, six different classes of enactments are considered as having ceased to be in force, although not expressly and specifically repealed: namely, such enactments as are:-

1. Expired-that is, enactments which having been originally limited to endure only for a specified period by a distinct provision, have not been either perpetuated or kept in force by continuance, or which have merely had for their object the continuance of previous temporary enactments for periods now gone by effluxion of time;

2. Spent-that is, enactments spent or exhausted in operation by the accomplishment of the purposes for which they were passed, either at the moment of their first taking effect or on the happening of some event or one the doing of some act authorised or required;

3. Repealed in general terms-that is, repealed by the operation of an enactment expressed only in general terms, as distinguished from an enactment specifying the Acts on which it is to operate;

4. Virtually repealed-Where an earlier enactment is inconsistent with, or is rendered nugatory by, a later one;

5. Superseded-Where a later enactment effects the same purposes as an earlier one by repetition of its terms or otherwise;

6. Obsolete-Where the state of things contemplated by the enactment has ceased to exist, or the enactment is of such a nature as to be no longer capable of being put in force, regard being had to the alteration of political or social circumstances.

II. For the purpose of the schedules, enactments are considered unnecessary where the provisions are of such a nature as not to require at the present day statutory authority. Where any enactment, is comprised in the schedules on any ground not above explained, the ground of repeal sufficiently appears from the expression used in the third column of the schedule to the Bill, which is, however, not a matter for consideration by the courts."

1. See for example, Statute Law Revision Acts, 1908, 1927, 1948, 1950 and 1953 (Eng.).

2. Craises Statute Law, (1963), pp. 356, 357.

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