bits of law

Main Section

Legal System | Law Making

Statute Law: Structure

Revision Note | Degree

Download Adobe PDF Icon


  • Acts of Parliament are presented in a specific format.

    Short Title

  • short title including publication date
  • normal way to describe a Statute
  • may be abbreviated, for example Human Rights Act 1998 becomes HRA 1998
  • Citation

  • official citation is the number given to each Act passed in a year
  • called the chapter number
  • Long title

  • long title gives a concise explanation of the aims of the Act
  • Royal Assent

  • Royal Assent is indicated by date that assent was given
  • Act will commence on this date unless otherwise specified
  • Enacting Formula

  • standard form of words to indicate that an Act has been properly passed by all parts of legislature
  • Sections, Subsections, Paragraphs and Parts

  • main body of the statute is divided up into numbered sections, sub-divided into subsections, paragraphs and sub-paragraphs
  • longer statutes: sections may be further grouped into parts
  • Marginal Notes

  • each section may have short marginal notes to explain contents
  • not part of the Act so no direct legal effect
  • since 2001, marginal notes now appear in bold type as headings to each section
  • Headings

  • headings are considered part of the statute
  • but are but are of little use as an aid to interpretation and more of a navigation tool
  • Commencement Date

  • commencement section is usually found towards the end of an Act
  • Schedules

  • found at the end of an Act
  • can provide contain details of amendments to previous legislation or further details and definitions
  • schedules may be divided into paragraphs
  • Preambles

  • old Acts contain a preamble which explain the purpose of an Act

Annotated Statute Example

example annotated statute
This site is best viewed with style sheets (CSS) enabled and an up-to-date browser.