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English Legal Materials: STATUTES

A brief introduction to English legal materials and the resources used to retrieve known documents.


England does not have the equivalent of our United States Code. There is no official codification of the laws. The acts of Parliament are bound in annual volumes. The public acts become part of The Public General Acts and Measures. The final volume for each year contains an index and tables. This set is comparable to the Statutes at Large or session laws which are chronological compilations.

UK Statutes Online

Statutes in Force, Official Revised Edition

This is the official text of all acts in force, as amended. It includes all acts since 1235 that are currently in effect, and it incorporates all amendments. The set is published in looseleaf volume by subject.

  • Print - KD132 1972 Basement
  • Online
    • Westlaw - UK-LIF-PDF

Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales, 4th ed.

This is a commercially published, annotated subject arrangement of current statutes. The set is organized into fifty main volumes, an annual cumulative supplement, a looseleaf update called the Noter-up Service, which updates the Cumulative Supplement, and the Current Statutes Service, which includes new acts.  

  • Print - KD135.H3 G74 1985 Basement
  • Online

An annual volume, Is It In Force?, gives the commencement date of public acts passed after January 1960. It does not indicate whether an act is currently in force.

  • Print - KD142.6 .I8 Basement


Public General Acts


Statutes of the Realm (1225-1713)

  • Print - KD130 1235 Basement folio

Guides to British Statutes

Harvard Law School Library's United Kingdom Research Guide: British Statutes

Stephen Young, LLRX's Researching Primary Legislation of the United Kingtom (2003)


Regulations are a form of delegated legislation. A legislature delegates to an administrative agency the responsibility for creating regulations. In England, administrative regulations are known as statutory instruments or statutory rules and orders. The last subject compilation of English statutory instruments was published in 1948. Currently the statutory instruments are published individually and then they are published in bound annual volumes divided into three parts. They are arranged chronologically.

  • Other online sources
  • Print 
    • Official H.M.S.O. - KD166 .S73 Basement (1948-2007)
    • Halsbury's Statutory Instruments - KJE971.5 .B88 Basement
  • Halsbury's Statutes of England and Wales, 4th ed. - KD135.H3 G74 1985 Basement
    • includes annotations to administrative regulations
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