Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announces approval of Major Bill to overhaul obsolete laws
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Mr. Brendan Howlin T.D. today announced the Government has approved the drafting of a Statute Law Revision Bill to repeal all remaining obsolete Acts passed before independence.
On welcoming the decision Minister Howlin stated “I am pleased that the Government has authorised the drafting of the Statute Law Revision Bill, which is the next step in the most extensive statute law revision measure ever undertaken in the State.
This initiative firmly placesIrelandas an international leader in terms of the management and updating of our statute book. This Bill is a key element of a statute law revision programme initiated in 2003 that greatly improves the efficiency and effectiveness of our statute book. This Bill taken with previous Acts will result in the removal of a total of almost 8,000 obsolete Acts enacted before Irish independence in 1922. This, together with an additional 40,557 Acts which were deemed inapplicable and are being implicitly repealed by the legislation, makes the present project the most extensive programme of statute law revision ever carried out in any jurisdiction of which the Government is aware.”
The Office of the Attorney General has undertaken a consultation process with Government Departments, Local Authorities and other relevant companies, bodies and organisations on these repeals.
In addition, in advance of publication of the Bill, the Attorney General has issued an invitation for public submissions and comment. To assist and inform this process draft schedules to the proposed Bill have been made available which list those Acts which it is proposed to repeal and also those which have been identified as necessary for retention. These draft schedules along with further details of the Statute Law Revision Project have been posted on the website of her Office
Notes to Editor
As part of the current programme of statute law revision initiated in 2003, a total of almost 5,000 old Acts have already been specifically eliminated. This Bill taken with previous Acts will result in the removal of a total of almost 8,000 obsolete Acts enacted before 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Examples of the sort of old laws being repealed are private divorce Acts, designed to dissolve marriages in the days when there was no judicial divorce jurisdiction inIreland.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 780 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.
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 will contain lists of both the Acts specifically repealed, and also those that will be retained.
In tandem with the enactment of this Bill, it is the Minister’s intention to move on to review pre-independence secondary legislation and to examine the substantial number of charters and statutory rules passed prior to 1922.