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Legal Research Skills Guide: Acts


Act (of Parliament)

An Act is a statute or law passed by both Houses of Parliament that has received Royal Assent.

The most authoritative versions of an Act will be found on the legislation website for the relevant jurisdiction.  Many other legal databases will provide the fulltext of Acts, but when citing, you should be referring to the Legislation website as your source.

Finding Acts by topic

The best place to identify the appropriate legislation for a particular issue, is to use secondary resources.  Dictionaries, encyclopedias and books will point you to the most appropriate piece of legislation for your issue.

Delegated legislation

Parliament can also delegate the law making authority to persons or bodies.  These laws are known as delegated legislation or sometimes subordinate legislation. These can include:

  • RegulationsStatutory Rules which are made by the Minister and apply to the general population.
  • By-laws and Ordinances which are made by local government and apply to the people who live in that area.

Reading a citation