29/11/2002

NI first in Europe to post statute laws on net

Northern Ireland scored a European first today when it put 82 years of Statute Law on the worldwide web.

The 'Updated Statutes of Northern Ireland 1921-2001', launched by the Right Honourable Sir Robert Carswell, Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, is a free service open to everyone.

The site sets out in full the text of the primary legislation showing all changes made up to December 31 2001 and giving the authority for the change. This will be useful to many groups of people, including the judiciary, civil servants, legal organisations, policy makers, the voluntary and private sector and the public, who need to access and search legislation.

Norman Johnston, Head of Statutory Publications Office, said: “Until now one has had to follow tortuous paths to discover the relevant statute law.

“At present trying to research legislation needs the patience of Job, the intellect of Einstein as well as an extensive law library. The problems arise because original primary legislation has been extensively amended by later primary legislation, statutory rules and statutory instruments as well as by Acts of the Parliaments of Westminster and Stormont, ” he said.

The statute law of Northern Ireland is derived from many sources: laws made by five distinct Parliaments, as well as the Northern Ireland Assembly, are still in force.

The address of the website is www.northernireland-legislation.hmso.gov.uk

(GMcG)

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