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13 Law and legal references

13.5 Legislation

13.5.1 UK legislation

A statute’s title should always be in roman, even where a foreign statute is in italics in the original. Older statutes, without a short title, will require the appropriate regnal year (see 11.7) and chapter number. Use Arabic numerals for chapter numbers in Public (General) and Private Acts:

3 & 4 Geo V, c 12, ss 18, 19

Use lower-case Roman numerals in Public (Local) Acts:

3 & 4 Geo V, c xii, ss 18, 19
Scots Acts before the Union of 1707 are cited by year and chapter: 1532, c 40. All Acts passed after 1962 are cited by the calendar year and chapter number of the Act; commas before the date were abolished retroactively in 1963. There is no need for the word ‘of’—except perhaps when discussing a number of Acts with the same title (for example, to distinguish the Criminal Appeals Act of 1907 from that of 1904). Provided the meaning is clear, it is permissible even in text to refer to ‘the 1904 Act’.

Some UK statutes are almost invariably abbreviated, for example PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) and MCAs (Matrimonial Causes Acts). Where such abbreviations will be familiar to readers they may be used, even in text, although it is best to spell a statute out at first mention with the abbreviation in parentheses before relying thereafter simply on the abbreviation. Use an abbreviation where one particular statute is referred to many times throughout the text.

Except at the start of a sentence or when the reference is non-specific, use the following abbreviations: ‘s’, ‘ss’, ‘Pt’, ‘Sch’. For example, paragraph (k) of subsection (4) of section 14 of the Lunacy Act 1934 would be expressed as ‘Lunacy Act 1934, s 14(4)(k)’. There is no space between the bracketed items. In general, prefer ‘section 14(4)’ to ‘subsection (4)’ or ‘paragraph (k)’; if the latter are used, however, they can be abbreviated to ‘subs (3)’ or ‘para (k)’ in notes.

Statutory instruments should be referred to by their name, date, and serial number:

Local Authority Precepts Order 1897, SR & O 1897/208
Community Charge Support Grant (Abolition) Order 1987, SI 1987/466

No reference should be made to any subsidiary numbering system in the case of Scots instruments, those of a local nature, or those making commencement provisions.

Quote extracts from statutes exactly. Do not amend to improve the sense, and clearly indicate if you correct obvious errors. Omitted text should be indicated by ellipses.

13.5.2 European Union legislation

For primary legislation, include both the formal and informal names in the first reference to a particular treaty:

EC Treaty (Treaty of Rome, as amended), Art 3b
Treaty on European Union (Maastricht Treaty), Art G5c

Cite articles of the treaties without reference to the titles, chapters, or subsections. As part of a reference, abbreviate ‘Article’ to ‘Art’, in roman. Cite protocols to the treaties by their names, preceded by the names of the treaties to which they are appended:

Act of Accession 1985 (Spain and Portugal), Protocol 34
EC Treaty, Protocol on the Statute of the Court of Justice

References to secondary legislation (decisions, directives, opinions, recommendations, and regulations) should be to the texts in the Official Journal of the European Union. The title of the legislation precedes the reference to the source:

Council Directive (EC) 97/1 on banking practice [1997] OJ L234/3
Council Regulation (EEC) 1017/68 applying rules of competition to transport [1968] OJ Spec Ed 302

While it is always important to state the subject matter of EU secondary legislation, the long official title may be abbreviated provided that the meaning is clear. For example, the full title

Commission Notice on agreements of minor importance which do not fall under Article 85(1) of the Treaty establishing the EEC [1986] OJ C231/2, as amended [1994] OJ C368/20
may be abbreviated to
Commission Notice on agreements of minor importance [1986] OJ C231/2, as amended [1994] OJ C368/20

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