Skip to main content

Secondary Legislation

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 12 February 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review obsolete secondary legislation. [HL1272]

The Government have no specific plans to review obsolete secondary legislation.

The Law Commission has a statutory duty to keep the law of England and Wales under review with a view to its systematic development and reform. This includes the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary legislation, including secondary legislation. However, the commission focuses its resources in this area of work on the repeal of obsolete primary legislation.

Individual departments also keep secondary legislation for which they are responsible under regular review and will revoke previous instruments which have become obsolete when new secondary legislation is introduced. For example the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/3538) completely revoked 26 instruments and 17 others insofar as they applied to England and Wales. If an enabling Act, or the enabling section of the Act, is repealed, instruments made under it will lapse unless they are saved. Secondary legislation may also become spent, either because it was expressed to have effect only for a limited period, or because it no longer has any effect. Many instruments therefore cease to have effect without the need for them to be specifically revoked.