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 report, the 20th Statute Law (Repeals) Report, was published on 3 June 2015. It proposes the repeal of more than 200 obsolete statutes covering a wide range of topics from agriculture and churches to trade and industry and taxation. We hope that the draft Statute Law (Repeals) Bill contained in the report will be introduced into Parliament during 2016, when work on the next programme of repeals will also begin.

More information

We have published a review of our statute law repeals work between 1965 and 2010.

Modernising and simplifying the statute book is a huge task. There are many ancient laws and legal curiosities that are still in use today.


Statute Law Repeals 20th Report

The 20th Statute Law Repeals Report recommends the repeal of more than 200 Acts. The Bill accompanying the report covers a wide range of topics from agriculture and churches to trade and industry and taxation. The earliest repeal is from the Statute of Marlborough 1267. Passed during the reign of Henry III, the Statute is one of … Read more >

Statute Law Repeals 19th Report

The Statute Law (Repeals) Bill, which originated in the 19th Statute Law Repeals report, became the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2013 when it received Royal Assent on 31 January 2013. The Bill was introduced into Parliament on 10 October 2012 (details below). The Notes on the Bill and the text of the report are available at the links … Read more >

Statute Law Repeals 18th Report

Joint report with the Scottish Law Commission. Repeals included in this report Armed Forces County Gaols East India Company London Police Rating Tax and Duties Town and Country Planning Turnpikes Miscellaneous

Statute Law Repeals 17th Report

Joint report with the Scottish Law Commission. Repeals included in this report Administration of Justice Agriculture Allotments and Smallholdings Aviation Defunct Bodies Ecclesiastical Education Employment Finance Local Government Pensions Property Public Health Road Traffic Scottish Acts Trade and Industry Miscellaneous

Statute Law Repeals 16th Report

Repeals of various obsolete Acts.

Chronological Table of Private and Personal Acts

Chronological Table of Local Legislation

Tax

In the 18th Statute Law Repeals report, which was published in January 2008, we made several recommendations for the repeal of laws relating to taxes or duties, including stamp and customs duties. In most cases, the Acts were obsolete because the tax or duty that they imposed was abolished without the legislation itself being wholly repealed. Several … Read more >

Taxation

In our consultation paper we propose the repeal of a series of statutory provisions relating to taxation law which span the years 1952 to 2010, and which have become obsolete or spent through the passage of time, or because of subsequent statutory intervention.  In all, we recommend the repeal of portions of some 32 Acts … Read more >