How can one find the full enumeration of presently effectual/binding laws making up the statute book at any given time? If they can endlessly be amended by each other then surely they must all be enumerated by some actual list? How does a statute leave the list? Does it simply stay on the list forever until it is effectively nullified by some later statute containing a statement that repeals it?

  • Often statutes are quoted “as amended [by XX YY act 1234]”. Does that mean that acts are published many times? How did one used to make sure that the copy one was currently reading was the latest most up to date one that is the currently effective/binding state of the law before the days of legislation.gov.uk? Apr 18, 2022 at 23:55
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    My assumption would be that distributing legislation was a major role of HM Stationery Office, and that legislation which affected existing legislation could be clearly indicated; this is how nautical charts are updated (every month or so 'Notices to Mariners' are released which include updates to be made to charts as well as ephemeral information). I would expect paper copies of legislation to be marked to show when they were last updated.
    – dbmag9
    Apr 19, 2022 at 13:45
  • I think there is a deep definitional problem. Session laws passed in particular laws are generally codified and often amend prior statutes. While session laws are easy to count that includes repealed or later amended laws. You can count the length or number of sections of codified laws easily enough ,but where to start and stop counting a statute is non-obvious. Many statutory sections currently grouped together in codified law were once multiple acts and whether the source act remains part of legal consciousness is mostly happenstance.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 19, 2022 at 19:37
  • @ohwilleke does it surprise you much that a great deal of your comment sort of seems like gibberish to me? I say that with the utmost humility and zero intended snark. Apr 19, 2022 at 21:10
  • @ohwilleke as I've commented below, some of this terminology doesn't apply in the UK. As far as I'm aware, there's no such thing as a "session law", nor is "codification" a meaningful term; there is (sadly) no equivalent to the US Code in the UK. Apr 20, 2022 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


All(?) current UK legislation may be found here.

It is searchable on just a word, eg: there are 61 UK Public General Acts containing the word "police".

Or by type: there are 116 Ministerial Orders.

There are 4444 UK Public General Acts, but not all are in force as this includes repealed legislation, such as these two 2019 Acts and these two from 1803 (the earliest on record).

When changes are made, these are either annotated by footnotes with links to the legislation that introduced them with the option to view the timeline of changes, or noted in an orange box at the top of the page indicating which changes and effects are yet to be applied; such as here because these things can take time to complete.

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    – Pat W.
    Apr 21, 2022 at 11:23

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