The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Mr. Brendan Howlin T.D. has published the Statute Law Revision Bill 2012 to repeal all remaining obsolete Acts passed before independence.
“The Bill is the latest phase in what is, I understand, the most extensive statute law revision measures ever attempted anywhere in the world. It putsIrelandin a leadership position internationally in terms of the management and updating of our statute book.” Minister Howlin said.
“The Bill will repeal an estimated 2,900 obsolete Acts enacted between 1751 and Irish independence in 1922. Examples of the sort of old laws being repealed are private divorce Acts, designed to dissolve marriages in the days when there was no judicial divorce jurisdiction inIreland. The Bill also repeals obsolete statutes relating to conferring of citizenship on non-nationals, again dating back to a period where Ministers had no power to confer naturalisation, and this had to be done by parliament.”
“In addition the Bill will specify around 790 pieces of old legislation which are still relevant and which are being specifically kept in force. For example, the Saint Stephen’s Green (Dublin) Act 1877 which regulates the Green will be specifically kept in force by the Bill, as will another Local and Personal Act of that year, the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act 1877 which established the present National Library andNationalMuseum.”
Minister Howlin added “As part of the current programme of statute law revision initiated in 2003, a total of almost 5,000 old Acts have already been eliminated. When this Bill is enacted, that total will rise to nearly 8,000, which – together with an additional 40,557 Acts which were deemed inapplicable and are implicitly repealed by the legislation – I understand that this makes the present project the most extensive programme of statute law revision ever carried out in any jurisdiction”.
Previous Bills in the present programme of statute law revision have analysed Public Acts as well as Private Acts up to 1750 and Local and Personal Acts up to 1850. The forthcoming bill will repeal all remaining obsolete Local and Personal Acts and Private Acts passed prior to 1922, leaving in force only a limited number of such Acts which are still relevant today. The Schedule to the Bill contains lists of both the Acts specifically repealed, and also those that will be retained.
A list of the pre-independence legislation coming within the scope of the present Bill has been placed on the website of the Office of the AttorneyGeneral (www.attorneygeneral.ie). TheAttorney General undertook a detailed process of consultation on these repeals and issued an invitation for public submissions and comment, details of which are posted on the website of her Office.
The Bill is available here