The paper version of Halsburys Statutes is the set of grey-bound volumes next to Halsburys Laws at the back of the library. It is arranged on the same principle as the Laws, that is to say about 100 different subjects are spread throughout the volumes. Within each subject are acts of parliament on that subject. Halsbury’s Statutes contains all current acts of parliament.
Statutes can change their text as they are amended by subsequent legislation, and Halsburys Statutes always has the most up to date version of the text: not all statute books can claim this, so this text is highly recommended for researching legislation.
To use the Statutes, first look up the name of the statute in the Alphabetic table of statutes which you will find at the front of the consolidated index volume. This will refer you to the appropriate volume (the bold number) and the page number on which the act starts (the light number).
At the top of the act is found the short title, the year and the chapter number (the first act passed in a year is chapter 1, the second chapter 2 and so on). These three items form the act’s official citation.
Below this you will find, usually, a table of contents of the act’s sections, the long title of the act in italic and the date on which the act received the royal assent. Please note that the date of royal assent is not usually the date on which the act came into force.
Now look at the text of the act, noting that square brackets [thus] indicate text that has been added to the act since it was originally passed, and ellipses [……] indicate text that has been removed from the act since it was originally passed. At the end of each section is a commentary, a large part of which is devoted to telling you when changes were made and by what authority.
You should now check for recent changes by looking the act up (by volume and page number), first in the annual Cumulative supplement volume, and then in the Noter-up, a looseleaf volume at the end of the set.
When researching legislation, it is essential that you ensure (1) the act was in force at the relevant date, and (2) has not been repealed. You can check the first of these by going to the Is it in force? volume at the end of the set. This lists all acts since 1960, presenting them in year order, and within year order in alphabetic order of act name. For each act, Is it in force? will tell you whether the act ever came into force or not. If it did, it will tell you the date it came into force and the legislation which brought it into force. If different sections of the act came into force on different dates and on the authority of different legislation, Is it in force? will break this information down on a section-by-section basis.
IMPORTANT: Is it in force? will NOT tell you if the act was subsequently repealed. For this you need the Statute citator, which is also kept at the end of the set. Once more, look the act up by year, and within year by alphabetic order of act name. The citator will tell you whether the act (or any parts of it) have been repealed or amended, and if so the legislation that repealed/amended it.
Next week, we’ll look at how to research legislation using the online version of Halsburys Statutes.