Acts and Statutory Instruments

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UK Volume 1950 to 2014

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<ul><li><p> Acts and Statutory Instruments: the volume of UK legislation 1950 to 2014 </p><p>Standard Note: SN/SG/2911 </p><p>Last updated: 19 March 2014 </p><p>Author: Richard Cracknell/Rob Clements </p><p>Section Social &amp; General Statistics Section </p><p> While the number of Acts has if anything been declining over the last 20 to 30 years, the number of Statutory Instruments (many of which are not considered by or laid before Parliament) has been increasing. The number of pages of legislation has been higher in recent years compared with 30 or 40 years ago. This note looks at the volume of legislation over the last 60 or so years. It covers both primary and secondary (or delegated) legislation. Figures are shown for calendar years and parliamentary sessions, the length of which varies depending on the timing of general elections and Queens Speeches. The note is intended to deal with questions frequently asked of the Library; it does not consider the detailed background to any trends shown. </p><p>Contents </p><p>1 Calendar year data 2 </p><p>2 Pages of legislation 6 </p><p>3 Sessional data 1997-98 to 2012-13 8 </p><p>3.1 Bills &amp; Acts 8 </p><p>3.2 Delegated legislation Statutory Instruments 9 </p><p>3.3 Time spent debating legislation 10 </p></li><li><p>2 </p><p>1 Calendar year data </p><p> Legislation takes two main forms. Primary legislation consists of Acts of Parliament. Secondary, or delegated, legislation is generally made by Ministers under powers granted by Acts of Parliament. Most delegated legislation is in the form of Statutory Instruments. The charts below show, for the period from 1950 to date, the number of Public Acts which have received Royal Assent and the number of Statutory Instruments (SIs) made by UK Government departments and other UK authorities and registered by the Statutory Instruments Registrar. Since 1999, the Scottish Parliament has been able to pass Acts; these are also shown in the charts, as are Scottish Statutory Instruments made by the Scottish Administration since 1999. SIs made by the National Assembly for Wales since 1999 are included in the UK totals as they are numbered in the same series.1 </p><p>0</p><p>20</p><p>40</p><p>60</p><p>80</p><p>100</p><p>120</p><p>1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010</p><p>Acts passed 1950 to 2014</p><p>Scottish Acts</p><p>United Kingdom Acts</p><p> There has been something of a downward trend in the number of Acts passed over the last 30 to 40 years, but the number of Statutory Instruments has steadily increased. Statutory Instruments vary enormously in their scope from substantial pieces of legislation to considerable numbers of orders temporarily restricting traffic on particular local roads. </p><p> 1 But not printed in the same volumes. </p></li><li><p>3 </p><p> -</p><p> 500</p><p> 1,000</p><p> 1,500</p><p> 2,000</p><p> 2,500</p><p> 3,000</p><p> 3,500</p><p> 4,000</p><p> 4,500</p><p> 5,000</p><p>1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010</p><p>Statutory Instruments1950 to 2014</p><p>Scottish SIs</p><p>United Kingdom SIs</p><p> Tables 1a and 1b (overleaf) give the data underpinning these charts. Consolidation and Tax Law Rewrite Acts are shown separately as these are, in effect, not new laws. The 1998 Scotland Act, Government of Wales Act and Northern Ireland Act gave differing degrees of legislative power to the three devolved legislatures and their Executives. The Scottish Parliament has had the most extensive and consistent legislative powers of the three, and Table 1b includes the numbers of Scottish Acts passed and Scottish Statutory Instruments made since 1999. Under the 1998 Government of Wales Act, the Assembly was able only to make delegated legislation under Westminster Acts; the numbers of SIs so made are included in the UK figures shown in Table 1b. From May 2007, the Assemblys legislative powers were enlarged to enable it to make Measures which, in effect, could do anything that could be done by an Act of Parliament in specified fields. The numbers of these Measures made are shown separately in Table 1b. Since May 2011, the National Assemblys powers have been enlarged again, and it can now make Assembly Acts in effect primary legislation. Twelve such Acts have been passed since 2012. The legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly was defined in terms of transferred, reserved, and excepted matters. Excepted matters can be legislated only by the UK Parliament or Ministers while reserved matters can be transferred by an Order in Council. Everything else was a transferred matter on which the Assembly can legislate. However, the Assembly was suspended on several occasions between 2000 and 2007, including from October 2002 to May 2007, during which periods the law was made at Westminster, mostly in the form of Orders in Council. Table 2 gives data for recent years. </p></li><li><p>4 </p><p>Table 1a</p><p>Number of Public General Acts and Statutory Instruments 1950 to 1989</p><p>Northern Ireland Acts and Statutory Rules are not included</p><p>UK</p><p>Acts of which:</p><p>Tax Law non- UK</p><p>Consolidation Rewrite Consolidation Statutory</p><p>Acts Acts Acts Instruments (a)</p><p>1950 50 11 39 2,144 </p><p>1951 64 4 60 2,335 </p><p>1952 64 6 58 2,312 </p><p>1953 56 5 51 1,937 </p><p>1954 66 4 62 1,764 </p><p>1955 49 1 48 2,007 </p><p>1956 59 5 54 2,122 </p><p>1957 62 8 54 2,250 </p><p>1958 77 12 65 2,280 </p><p>1959 73 9 64 2,342 </p><p>1960 66 5 61 2,495 </p><p>1961 65 3 62 2,514 </p><p>1962 60 4 56 2,877 </p><p>1963 59 5 54 2,157 </p><p>1964 98 4 94 2,102 </p><p>1965 83 14 69 2,201 </p><p>1966 52 4 48 1,641 </p><p>1967 91 13 78 1,976 </p><p>1968 77 10 67 2,079 </p><p>1969 65 4 61 1,902 </p><p>1970 58 3 55 2,044 </p><p>1971 81 10 71 2,178 </p><p>1972 80 8 72 2,077 </p><p>1973 69 4 65 2,236 </p><p>1974 58 6 52 2,227 </p><p>1975 83 16 67 2,251 </p><p>1976 86 11 75 2,248 </p><p>1977 53 5 48 2,202 </p><p>1978 59 9 50 1,977 </p><p>1979 60 16 44 1,770 </p><p>1980 68 13 55 2,051 </p><p>1981 72 12 60 1,892 </p><p>1982 57 7 50 1,900 </p><p>1983 60 8 52 1,965 </p><p>1984 62 11 51 2,072 </p><p>1985 76 11 65 2,080 </p><p>1986 68 4 64 2,344 </p><p>1987 57 1 56 2,278 </p><p>1988 55 6 49 2,311 </p><p>1989 46 3 43 2,503 </p></li><li><p>5 </p><p>Table 1b</p><p>Number of Public General Acts and Statutory Instruments 1990 to 2014</p><p>Northern Ireland Acts and Statutory Rules are not included</p><p>UK</p><p>Acts of which:</p><p>Tax Law non- UK</p><p>Consolidation Rewrite Consolidation Statutory</p><p>Acts Acts Acts Instruments (a)</p><p>1990 46 4 42 2,667 </p><p>1991 69 6 63 2,953 </p><p>1992 61 10 51 3,359 </p><p>1993 52 9 43 3,276 </p><p>1994 41 3 38 3,334 </p><p>1995 54 6 48 3,345 </p><p>1996 63 6 57 3,291 </p><p>1997 69 7 62 Scottish 3,114 Scottish</p><p>1998 49 2 47 Acts (d) 3,323 SIs</p><p>1999 35 35 1 3,501 203</p><p>2000 45 1 44 12 3,433 453</p><p>2001 25 1 24 15 4,150 494</p><p>2002 44 1 43 17 3,279 570</p><p>2003 45 1 44 19 3,367 623</p><p>2004 38 38 12 3,459 565</p><p>2005 24 1 23 16 3,602 663</p><p>2006 55 5 50 17 3,515 616</p><p>2007 31 1 30 19 3,688 584</p><p>2008 33 33 7 3,371 441 2</p><p>2009 27 1 1 25 12 3,468 455 5</p><p>2010 41 2 39 18 3,117 471 8</p><p>2011 25 1 24 16 3,136 458 7</p><p>2012 23 23 11 3,329 360 2</p><p>2013 33 33 14 3,314 366 7</p><p>2014 (b) 4 4 6 738 73 3</p><p>(a) Total number of SIs numbered in the UK series. A small number of these each year are not used because the relevant SI</p><p>is cancelled - between two and five per annum in recent years.</p><p>(b) To 19 March</p><p>(c) Measures were made between 2007 and 2011 after which the assembly gained the power to pass acts following a referendum held in 2011. </p><p>No Measures could be passed as of May 2011.</p><p>(d) One Scottish Act - the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 - has been a Consolidation Act.</p><p>Excludes Northern Ireland Acts and statutory rules</p><p>Sources: House of Commons Library</p><p>www.legislation.gov.uk</p><p>Measures/Acts of the </p><p>National Assembly for </p><p>Wales (c) </p></li><li><p>6 </p><p>Table 2</p><p>Northern Ireland legislation 2007 to 2014</p><p>Orders in</p><p>Acts Number (a) Pages (b) Council</p><p>2007 3 509 3,554 11</p><p>2008 13 511 2,749 2</p><p>2009 9 433 3,171 2</p><p>2010 16 436 2,204 0</p><p>2011 29 442 1,792 0</p><p>2012 5 462 .. 0</p><p>2013 10 308 .. 0</p><p>2014 (c) 2 80 .. 0</p><p>(a) Total number of Statutory Rules numbered in the Northern Ireland series. </p><p>(b) Local, revoked and temporary Rules are not printed and therefore not included here.</p><p> Not yet available from 2012 onwards</p><p>(c) To 19 March</p><p>Sources: www.legislation.gov.uk and printed volumes of NI legislation</p><p>Statutory Rules</p><p>2 Pages of legislation </p><p>An alternative measure of the volume of legislation passed by Parliament is the number of pages of legislation. The following chart shows the number of pages of Acts and Statutory Instruments in the published Stationery Office volumes. Considerable numbers of Statutory Instruments are not printed in these volumes (see footnote to Table 3). The data are for calendar years. </p><p> -</p><p> 2,000</p><p> 4,000</p><p> 6,000</p><p> 8,000</p><p> 10,000</p><p> 12,000</p><p> 14,000</p><p> 16,000</p><p> 18,000</p><p>1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010</p><p>Pages of Acts and Statutory Instruments1950 to 2012 (selected years)</p><p>Statutory Instruments</p><p>Acts</p></li><li><p>7 </p><p>Table 3</p><p>Pages of Acts and Statutory Instruments (selected years) 1911 to 2012UK legislation only - separate Scottish, Welsh and NI legislation is not covered</p><p> Public and General </p><p>Acts Statutory Instruments </p><p>1911 430 330 </p><p>1921 220 1,080 </p><p>1931 280 1,050 </p><p>1940 370 1,970 </p><p>1950 720 2,970 </p><p>1955 540 2,340 </p><p>1960 850 3,020 </p><p>1965 1,340 4,730 </p><p>1970 1,110 4,880 </p><p>1975 2,060 6,210 </p><p>1980 2,110 5,440 </p><p>1985 2,380 4,760 </p><p>1990 2,390 6,550 </p><p>1991 2,250 7,626 </p><p>1992 2,678 8,964 </p><p>1993 2,645 7,944 </p><p>1994 2,335 10,143 </p><p>1995 3,001 9,688 </p><p>1996 3,150 10,233 </p><p>1997 2,060 8,599 </p><p>1998 2,469 7,403 </p><p>1999 2,096 10,693 </p><p>2000 3,865 8,712 </p><p>2001 1,594 10,760 </p><p>2002 2,868 9,109 </p><p>2003 4,030 9,378 </p><p>2004 3,470 9,574 </p><p>2005 2,868 12,933 </p><p>2006 4,911 11,440 </p><p>2007 3,186 12,172 </p><p>2008 3,204 10,812 </p><p>2009 3,384 11,888 </p><p>2010 2,722 ..</p><p>2011 2,630 ..</p><p>2012 2,761 ..</p><p>Notes:</p><p>The figures for Statutory Instruments relate to the number of pages in the Stationery Office bound set - this</p><p>excludes some local and unpublished Instruments and, from 2000, those made by the Welsh ministers.</p><p>The figures do not include Northern Ireland (Stormont) Acts, Orders in Council or Statutory Rules.</p><p>Pre-1987 figures are adjusted to current page sizes.</p><p>Sources: Annual volumes of Acts and SIs published by TSO</p><p> The data underpinning this chart are in Table 3. Figures for Public and General Acts are available up to 2012 and for Statutory Instruments up to 2009. </p></li><li><p>8 </p><p>3 Sessional data 1997-98 to 2012-13 </p><p>3.1 Bills &amp; Acts </p><p>Some statistics are also available for Parliamentary sessions, which vary in length. The latest available figures are for the 2012-13 session. Table 4 gives figures from a House of Commons perspective, that is it covers Bills that started in the House of Commons or were brought to the Commons having started in the House of Lords. </p><p>Table 4</p><p>Public Bills by session, 1997-98 to 2012-13</p><p>Sitting Bills of which, Bills receiving</p><p>days introduced (a) Government Bills Royal Assent</p><p>1997-98 7 May 97-19 Nov 98 241 202 53 62</p><p>1998-99 24 Nov 98-11 Nov 99 149 135 31 35</p><p>1999-00 17 Nov 99-30 Nov 00 170 144 40 45</p><p>2000-01 6 Dec 00-14 May 01 83 89 26 21</p><p>2001-02 13 Jun 01-7 Nov 02 201 162 39 47</p><p>2002-03 13 Nov 02-20 Nov 03 162 138 36 46</p><p>2003-04 26 Nov 03-18 Nov 04 157 131 36 38</p><p>2004-05 23 Nov 04-7 Apr 05 65 88 32 21</p><p>2005-06 11 May 05-8 Nov 06 208 179 58 56</p><p>2006-07 15 Nov 06-30 Oct 07 146 131 34 33</p><p>2007-08 6 Nov 07-26 Nov 08 165 138 32 33</p><p>2008-09 3 Dec 08-12 Nov 09 136 138 26 27</p><p>2009-10 18 Nov 09-12 Apr 10 60 92 23 30</p><p>2010-12 25 May 10-1 May 12 296 277 46 49</p><p>2012-13 9 May 12-23 April 13 143 137 34 38</p><p>(a) Bills that started in the Commons or were brought from the Lords.</p><p>Sources: House of Commons Sessional Returns and Sessional Information Digest </p><p> Bills fall into two main types: Government Bills and Private Members (back-bench) Bills. Almost all Government Bills are debated and subsequently become law (having passed through both Houses of Parliament); generally these receive Royal Assent in the same session in which they are introduced, but in some cases bills can be carried forward to the next session. Bills, including Government Bills, may be lost at the end of a session, especially when there is a General Election. Many Private Members Bills are introduced but are not discussed at all and, of those that are allocated time for debate, relatively few are passed. In the 2012-13 session, for example, 34 Government Bills were dealt with by the House of Commons, 27 of which started in that House and 7 started in the House of Lords. 28 of these became law and five were carried forward to the next session. Of the 141 Private </p></li><li><p>9 </p><p>Members Bills that either started in the House of Commons or were brought to the Commons from the House of Lords, ten became law. Private Bills are a separate category of legislation. They are proposals to give specific powers over and above the general law, usually to corporate bodies. The numbers introduced into the House of Commons or brought from the House of Lords, and the numbers becoming law, were as follows. </p><p>Table 5</p><p>Private Bills by session, 1997-98 to 2012-13</p><p>Sitting Bills Bills receiving...</p></li></ul>

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