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Report No. 60

Present position-Need for amendment

7.5. No statutory provision in U.K. as to expiry.-

In the United Kingdom, there is no statutory provision concerning the effect of expiry. At common law, the effect of expiry of a temporary statute is, in each case, a matter of construction.1-2 The savings provision applicable by section 33(2) of the Interpretation Act, 1889 (U.K.) in case of repeal3 does not apply on the expiry of an Act, of its own force. Current English legislative practice is to apply the repeal clause. The following is one example:4

"(2) Upon the expiry of this Act, section 38(2) of the Interpretation Act shall apply as if this Act had been repealed by another Act."

The correct position in relation to temporary Acts was stated by Spens C.J. in J.K. Gas Plant v. King Emperor,5 in which he cited with approval the following passage from Craies on Statute Law.6

"unless it contains some special provision to the contrary, after a temporary Act has expired, no proceedings can be taken upon it and it ceases to have any effect. Therefore, offences committed against temporary Acts must be prosecuted and punished before the Act expires, and as soon as the Act expires any proceeding which are being taken against a person will ipso facto terminate."

1. See-

(a) Stevenson v. Oliver, (1841) 8 M&W 234 (240, 241);

(b) Spencar v. Hooton, (1920) 37 TLR 280 (282);

(c) Wicks v. Director of Public Prosecutions, 1947 AC 362.

2. As to the general rule, see para. 7.4, supra.

3. Para. 7.3, supra.

4. Section 9, Control of Liquid Fuel Act, 1967 (Eng.).

5. J.K. Gas Plant v. King Emperor, (1947) 52 CWN (FR) 25.

6. Craies Statute Law, (4th Edn., p. 347; 6th Edn., p. 408).

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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