The Taoiseach has outlined an ambitious project to repeal all the legislation which remains on the statute book which was enacted prior to Irish independence in 1922, leading ultimately to the codification of the Irish statute book. The Government has approved in principle a broad programme of statute law revision measures to achieve this and other improvements to the statute book.
As an element of that project, the Attorney General and the Taoiseach have engaged in a wide-ranging analysis of all legislation of the various Irish, English, British and United Kingdom parliaments which exercised authority over Ireland prior to Ireland achieving independence, as well as legislation passed since 1922.
See the Statute Law Revision Project page for more information.
The Electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB) published by the Office of the Attorney General includes the full text of the Acts, Statutory Instruments and at present includes the Legislation Directory (Chronological Tables) from 1922 (see further below).
Alongside the searchable Irish Statute Book, from 2007 the Office's website includes the text of current Statutory Instruments in the eSIS (electronic Statutory Instrument System) to standardise electronic publication of statutory instruments. These texts are in PDF format and are not searchable or linked to the Irish Statute Book web site. Additional statutory instruments produced through the eSIS will be included on the site as they become available.
See the Electronic Irish Statute Book. page for more information.
The Statute Law (Restatement) Act 2002 enables the Attorney General to make available and certify updated versions of Acts in a readable form. A restatement contains all the amendments that have been made to an Act since it came into force. The certified version is presented in a single text. Understandably, this is an innovative and modern method of displaying Acts that may have been amended many times over a considerable number of years. Variations on this concept already operate very effectively in other common law jurisdictions such as Canada and Australia. The Irish model most closely resembles procedures implemented in New South Wales in 1972.
These Restatements do not alter the law in any way. They combine Acts and their amendments in a reader friendly up to date version. They can however be cited in court as prima facie evidence of the law set out in them.
At the Attorney General's request, and following a Government decision in May 2006, the Law Reform Commission agreed to take over responsibility for this function from the Office of the Attorney General. In July 2007 the Commission published a Consultation Paper on Statute Law Restatement (LRC CP 45-2007) and in July 2008 a Report on the same subject (LRC 91-2008). Both are available on the Commissionís website. The Consultation Paper contains sample restatements of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 in a variety of formats and the Report contains sample restatements of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 and the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 2005 in the format finally chosen by the Commission.
The Report sets out a First Programme of Restatement for 2008 and 2009 which includes 45 pieces of legislation and six groups or suites of Acts. The Commission is introducing an XML authoring system which will enable it to carry out restatements and publish them on the Irish Statute Book website in due course.
See the Restatements page for more information and a list of Restatements certified to date.
The Office of the Attorney General has historically published the Chronological Tables to the Statutes. These tables are often referred to as 'the indexes to the statutes'.
At present (apart from the limited number of Restatements certified) in order to ascertain what legislation is in operation and what has been amended by subsequent enactments, it is necessary to consult these tables. As new legislation is enacted, the provisions containing amendments must be interpreted and included in the tables to keep them up to date. The work is complex and time consuming as it involves an examination of each Act and Statutory Instrument.
In December 2006 the Law Reform Commission agreed to the Attorney General's request for the Commission to assume responsibility in 2007 for the maintenance of the Chronological Tables of the Statutes. The Commission will publish a Consultation Paper in 2008 setting out its provisional views on how the Chronological Tables will be maintained and developed in light of the transfer of operational responsibility. The Office of the Attorney General's operational responsibility ended with the publication of the Chronological Tables to reflect legislative developments up to 31 December 2005.
Following the Commission's assumption of responsibility for the Chronological Tables of the Statutes, the Commission made the decision to change the name of the "Chronological Table of the Statutes" to "Legislation Directory". This decision was taken in order to better indicate to potential users the function of this resource as an electronically searchable guide to legislative effects.
The Legislation Directory forms part of the Electronic Irish Statute Book.