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Government documents and official publications

Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments

Acts of Parliament are the result of Bills that have been successfully passed through Parliament and have received Royal Assent.

Each act has a chapter number. Modern acts are published with accompanying explanatory notes.

Statutory instruments accompany Acts of Parliament. They are used to make detailed adjustments to the Act so that there is no need to pass a new Act of Parliament for every change.

Each contains an explanatory note to explain its scope and purpose.

Statutory Instruments are as much a part of the law as the accompanying Act of Parliament.

Each statutory instrument is numbered by calendar year, and a new sequence begins annually.

Search online

Search for the full text of all Statutory Instruments and Acts of Parliament from 1987 onwards. The website also contains a selection of Statutory Instruments from 1948 to 1986 and Acts from 1801 to 1987.

You can also search the following databases:

  • Westlaw UK: includes full text of UK Statutory Instruments and Acts of Parliament in force
  • Lexis Library: contains the full amended text of all Statutory Instruments and Acts of Parliament in force in England and Wales

Check the Daily List of government publications. It is the first official notice of the existence of a Statutory Instrument, and gives full details including the date of commencement.

Search the Library

Bound volumes of Acts of Parliament (from 1225 to 2009) are located in the Edward Boyle Library on level 8.

Bound volumes of Statutory Instruments for 1946–2009 are located in the Library store.

Halsbury’s Statutes of England and Wales may be particularly useful.

You can also refer to the Chronological Table of the Statutes to find the date and chapter number of an Act.