Finding your way around an act

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  • 1. At the top of an act there is the Short title in this case the Human Rights Act, the date and chapter number Underneath is the longer title of the act (rarely used) and the date of Royal Assent. Some sections of acts come into force on this date and some come into force gradually over the following years.
  • 2. Sections of an act. After the title and heading the sections of the act follow. With most online sources there is a list of sections and you can jump straight to the section you are looking for.
  • 3. Supplemental sections For most acts there is a supplemental section at the end of the act. There is usually a section called Interpretation which lists terms used throughout the act and what interpretation is being used
  • 4. The last section of every UK Act (before any schedules) is called Short title, commencement, application and extent Short title = how the act is cited (1) Commencement = which sections come into force on Royal Assent and how others will come into force (Sec. of State uses Statutory Instruments) (2) + (3) Extent = covers which part of the UK and any wider jurisdictions the act extends to (6)
  • 5. Schedules Schedules appear after the main sections of the act. They act like appendices and add supplementary information. They can sometimes contain all or part of other documents such as treaties. In this instance the first schedule of the Human Rights Act contains the European Convention of Human Rights (on which the act is based).


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