John Saunders, team manager
Joanna McCunn, research assistant
Carmen McFarlane, secretary
In reforming the law, the Law Commission does not just propose new laws. It also proposes the repeal of laws that have become obsolete.
The purpose of our statute law repeals work is to modernise and simplify the statute book, reduce its size and save the time of lawyers and others who use it. This in turn helps to avoid unnecessary costs. It also stops people being misled by obsolete laws that masquerade as live law. If an Act still features in the statute book and is referred to in text books, people reasonably enough assume that it must mean something.
We present our proposals to Government as Statute Law Repeals Reports, published with a draft Bill. Implementation of our repeal proposals is by means of special Statute Law (Repeals) Bills. 19 such Bills have been enacted since 1965 repealing more than 3,000 Acts in their entirety.
Our latest Statute Law (Repeals) Report was published on 04 April 2012. The draft Statute Law (Repeals) Bill contained in the report was approved by Parliament without amendment. It came into force as the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2013 on 31 January 2013. Notes on the individual repeals are available.
Work on our next Statute Law Repeals Report (due for publication in 2016) is now under way. Projects to be researched are likely to include laws on overseas territories and churches.
We have published a review of our statute law repeals work from 1965 to date.
Modernising and simplifying the statute book is a huge task. There are many ancient laws and legal curiosities that are still in use today.