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Legal Research Skills Guide: Commencement


Each Act has a date in which it comes into force, this is known as the commencement date or date of operation.  Different sections of an Act can commence at different times.  Commencement dates are published in the Government Gazette and also appear in the Notes or Endnotes section of reprinted Acts.

The commencement date may be any of the following:

  • retrospective (in the past)
  • upon receiving Royal Assent from the Govenor or Governor-General
  • at a proclaimed date (in the future)
  • in relation to another piece of legislation
  • the default date of 28 days after receiving Royal Assent 

Activity #24 - Locating Commencement dates

 Locate the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW) in the NSW legislation website. Navigate to the Historical Notes section of the Act.