A recent answer states:

What common law jurisdictions do is codify the common law on a given topic. That is, they write a big Bill that collects all of the disparate statutes and case law together and repeals or abolishes the other statutes or case law to create a point-in-time Act that sets out the current state of the law.

What is the scope of truth and applicability of this statement? And in what sense does it accurately characterise the essence of a parliamentary bill/act?

  • 1
    The link does not say all parliamentary acts do this, but instead that when common law systems codify the law then they do it through a parliamentary act.
    – Henry
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


The other answer is saying that in a project of comprehensive codification, Parliament will do what you've described.

Parliament does more than that though. It can:

  • codify the common law,
  • modify the common law,
  • create new law never before considered by the common law,
  • abrogate the common law,
  • delegate powers to the executive,
  • create criminal penalties,
  • declare holidays or national symbols,
  • authorize spending,
  • etc.
  • 3
    Often acts intended to codify the common law say so, either expressly or in their legislative history. There is a principle of statutory interpretation the acts abrogate the common law only if they clearly demonstrate an intent to do so.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Dec 18, 2023 at 18:04

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