The scope of Statute Law Revision Bills includes the repeal of spent enactments.
The following types of enactment are now spent on coming into force:
Enactments conferring short titles
Section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978 provides that an Act may continue to be cited by the short title authorised by any enactment notwithstanding the repeal of that enactment. This applies to Acts whenever they were passed.
Accordingly, any enactment whose sole effect is to confer a short title on an Act now becomes spent on coming into force; and any enactment already in force whose sole effect is to confer a short title on an Act is also spent.
Enactments which repeal other enactments
Section 15 of the Interpretation Act 1978 provides that where an Act repeals a repealing enactment, the repeal does not revive any enactment previously repealed unless words are added reviving it. This applies to Acts passed after the year 1850.
Accordingly, any enactment whose sole effect is to repeal another enactment now becomes spent on coming into force; and any enactment, which is already in force, whose sole effect is to repeal another enactment is also spent.
Referendums and Elections
An enactment that authorises an advisory referendum (which does not trigger a legislative change or bind the government to do something) becomes spent once the referendum has taken place. Hence the Referendum Act 1975 became spent after the 1975 United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum took place, and was subsequently repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1986. Likewise the parts of the European Union Referendum Act 2015 that authorised the 2016 EU membership referendum and regulated its execution are now spent. However, this Act also contains provisions regulating funding of and expenditure by political campaign groups under the framework of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, which has the potential to lead to criminal convictions under the 2000 Act, and as such those provisions continue to be relevant until such time as Parliament decides no more such offences will be discovered or prosecuted.
Standing orders may make provision different from that required by section 36(1) of the Scotland Act 1998 for the procedure applicable to Bills which repeal spent enactments.
The standing orders may make provision different from that required by section 98(1) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 for the procedure applicable to proposed Assembly Measures which repeal or revoke spent enactments.
Part 2 of Schedule 5 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 does not prevent a provision of an Assembly Measure repealing or revoking any spent enactment, or conferring power by subordinate legislation to do so.
Bills and Acts of the Assembly
The standing orders may make provision different from that required by section 111(1) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 for the procedure applicable to Bills which repeal or revoke spent enactments.
- 1 Black Comm 44 (14th ed)
- Second Report of the Statute Law Commissioners 7
- Warren v Windle, 3 East 205
- Federation of Nigeria Law Reports. Volume 2. Page 291. Evans Brothers (Nigeria Publishers) Limited. 1986.
- See also the explanatory memorandum to the Bill for the Statute Law Revision Act 1867 at page 4 of the Bill, printed in Bills, Public: 1867, Session 5 February - 21 August 1867, volume 6
- Michael Bedford (editor). Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1998. 179th Edition. Vacher Dod Publishing Limited. 1998. ISBN 0-905702-26-3. Page 484.
- Interpretation Act 1978, Schedule 2, Part I, paragraph 1 (application of s.19(2) to existing Acts)
- The Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1995, Schedule 1, Part IV OPSI.
- See the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission, Statute Law Revision: Fifteenth Report, Draft Statute Law Repeals Bill, Law Com 233, Scot Law Com 150, Part IV, pp. 76 - 78 BAILII Scottish Law Commission Archived 14 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Interpretation Act 1978, Schedule 2, Part I, paragraph 2 (application of s.15 to existing Acts)
- The Scotland Act 1998, section 36(3)(b)
- The Scotland Act 1998, paragraph 7(1)(b) of Schedule 4
- The Government of Wales Act 2006, section 98(3)(b)
- The Government of Wales Act 2006, paragraph 9 of Schedule 5
- The Government of Wales Act 2006, section 111(3)(b)
- The Government of Wales Act 2006, paragraph 8 in Part 3 of Schedule 7