How to find public general acts

This guide explains how to find public general acts in our library.

Locations of public general acts

Official Series

This is the official definitive text of statutes on the date they received royal assent and is published by the Stationery Office (TSO).

It's in Bay 168.

legislation.gov.uk

The original text (as enacted) and revised versions of legislation are available at legislation.gov.uk.

The revised versions are not always up to date so always check the “Changes to legislation” note at the beginning of each section.

Coverage is complete from 1988.

Halsbury's Statutes

This is arranged in subject order, setting out the text of statutes in force as amended at the date the volume went to press. It includes annotations.

It's in Bays 61 to 62.

Current Law Statutes Annotated

Beginning in 1948, Current Law Statutes Annotated contains the text of statutes as originally printed together with annotations including references to parliamentary debates.

It's in Bay E.

Textbooks

Many specialist texts, particularly looseleafs, set out the text of statutes updated to the date the book went to press, including annotations.

Subscription services

LexisLibrary, Westlaw UK and JustisOne are available in the library. Ask staff for access.

LexisLibrary

LexisLibrary is an online subscription service which provides updated versions of statutes in force.

Westlaw UK

Westlaw UK is an online subscription service which provides updated versions of statutes in force. It also contains historic versions of acts since 1991.

JustisOne

JustisOne is an online subscription service which provides the original official full text of most acts since 1235.

Amendments, repeals and annotations are not included, although there are cross-references to amendments and repeals with links to JustisOne.

Finding updated statutes

Halsbury's Statutes

Use the separate consolidated index to find the act in either the main volumes or the looseleaf Current Statutes Service. Amendments and repeals are shown as at the date the volume went to press.

You can further update the information by looking in:

  • the annual Cumulative Supplement
  • the looseleaf Noter-Up in Bay 61

Current Law Statutes Annotated

Beginning in 1947, Current Law Statutes Annotated lists statutes and notes amendments and repeals. Use the volume which contains the year you are starting from and all subsequent volumes.

It's in Bay E.

Chronological Table of Statutes

The Chronological Table of Statutes lists every statute passed since 1225, noting repeals and amendments. It is in Bay N7. Ask library staff to access old editions.

While this is authoritative, it’s not up to date. Repealed acts are only shown as repealed and do not show amendments made before the date of repeal.

Subscription services

LexisLibrary and Westlaw UK provide updated versions of public statutes.

Is it in force?

Is it in force? is a single volume at the end of Halsbury’s Statutes in Bay 61, which lists all acts alphabetically by year from 1960, showing details of commencement.
Information is updated in Halsbury's Statutes and the looseleaf Noter-Up.

LexisLibrary and Westlaw UK

  • LexisLibrary – see note at the end of each section
  • Westlaw UK – select Legislative Analysis

Halsbury's Statutes

Use the separate Consolidated Index to find the relevant legislation.

It is in Bay 61.

LexisLibrary and Westlaw UK

Sections in both can be used to find statutes on a subject:

  • LexisLibrary – in Commentary and Current Awareness
  • Westlaw UK – in Legal Journals and Current Awareness

Westlaw UK contains abstracts and subject keywords. This can be useful for finding recent statutes on particular subjects.

Textbooks

Textbooks and looseleafs covering the relevant subject area can be used to find statutes on a subject.

Halsbury's Statutes

The annotations often refer to relevant cases. It is in Bay 61.

Current Law Legislation Citator

Use the volume which contains the year in question and all subsequent volumes.

This is in Bay E.

LexisLibrary and Westlaw UK

Find the relevant section of the statute and select:

  • in LexisLibrary, Related Cases
  • in Westlaw UK, Legislative Analysis

Halsbury's Statutes

The annotations often refer to orders made under a section of an act.

It is in Bays 61-62.

Current Law Legislation Citator

Use the volume which contains the relevant statute and all subsequent volumes.

It is in Bay F.

LexisLibrary and Westlaw UK

Find the relevant section of the statute:

  • in LexisLibrary, the information is in a note at the end of the section
  • in Westlaw UK, select Legislative Analysis

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