Legal researchers interested in UK legislation now have a new online tool as the UK government has launched a website with public access to UK legislation dating back to 1267 providing 743 years of legislation (with a few exceptions) in one database. The new website of the National Archives, the UK government’s official archive, brings together every single piece of UK legislation, from the Magna Carta (1215) to the present day, in one place for the first time free of charge. With 6.5 million PDF documents and original versions of UK legislation covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland along with details of any amendments, the site provides an interactive browse facility and timeline.
Oliver Morley of the National Archives described the launch of the site as “a bold statement of transparency”. He said: “By using the latest technology and opening up the raw data underpinning legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives has given global access to the nation’s ‘operating system’. I’m proud to say this website is the only example of its kind in the world. It provides access to an invaluable and historical resource for anyone wanting to know what the law actually says.”
A post at the Resource Shelf has answers to FAQs about the site. Going back to the 13th century, the site makes if easy to view historical Acts of Parliament, such as the Act of Union in 1707, the Libraries Offences Act 1898 and the Public Records (Scotland) Act 1809. New legislation such as the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2010 is included along with the archived material.