What is a Revised Act?
A Revised Act is an administrative consolidation of that Act. It brings together in a single text all amendments and changes to an Act, making the law more accessible for all users. In Ireland, as in most other states, once an Act on a specific legal topic is enacted it is often amended subsequently, sometimes in significant respects. For example, the Planning and Development Act 2000 has been amended or otherwise affected by over 160 Acts and Statutory Instruments since it was originally enacted. The costly exercise of assembling, reading and understanding the amendments made to the 2000 Act that would otherwise fall on all users of legislation (including those regulated by the 2000 Act, members of the public who want to look up the law, lawyers and their clients, and civil and public servants) is avoided by the availability of a consolidated Revised Act version of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
Over 370 frequently used Acts are available as Revised Acts
Since the Commission was given functional responsibility for this area in 2006, it has published over 370 Revised Acts. These comprise:
- Around 170 pre-2005 Acts, such as the Planning and Development Act 2000, selected on the basis of the Commission’s public consultation as to which Acts are the most frequently used; and
- All Acts enacted from 2005 onwards that have been textually amended (with the exception of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 which is in preparation, and the Finance Acts).
The Commission maintains all these Acts on an ongoing basis. In addition, because it is committed to publishing Revised versions of all Acts enacted since 2005 (with the exceptions mentioned) the list of published Revised Acts now comprises a significant percentage of the most-used Acts that remain in force in the State. The Commission has published an alphabetical list of all Revised Acts and a chronological list (see left).
Revised Acts and Better Regulation
As outlined above, the availability of Revised Acts contributes to making the cost of doing business or consulting legislation in Ireland cheaper and more efficient. Revised Acts therefore have a key role to play in the wider context of principles of Better Regulation, which are listed in the Government’s Policy Statement on Regulating for a Better Future (Department of the Taoiseach, 2013). These include the principle of transparency, which aims to ensure that legislation is accessible to all, notably by making legislation available online: this is usually known as an eLegislation strategy. Significant elements of this strategy are already in place. These include the electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB), which contains the full text of Acts and Statutory Instruments as enacted as well as the Legislation Directory, a searchable guide to legislative changes. Other elements include the electronic Statutory Instruments System (eSIS), the Legislative Workbench system in the Houses of the Oireachtas and the online Classified List of Legislation in Ireland. Revised Acts involve an important additional element by providing access to the consolidated, as amended, text of a large number of Acts.
Comment and Feedback
The Commission invites comment and user feedback on its published Revised Acts from the legal community and the public. It aims to add to the stock of Revised Acts to make further frequently used Acts available in this consolidated form. Please send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.