The Statute Law Database, from the DCA, is now available (apparently it has been since 20 December 2006, but it wasn’t very well publicised!). Since I work in a law firm, and have access to up-to-date legislation through subscription services (i.e. LNB – I still don’t have the new version of Westlaw, which apparently has a wonderful legislation service), I don’t expect I’ll be using the free SLD (though at least it is free!) very much, but thought I’d have a look.
The SLD provides access to all consolidated primary legislation currently in force or in force as at any date from February 1991 and all secondary legislation as enacted from 1991.
It looks like it works ok, I did a search for the Energy Act 2004, and got back a sensible set of results. Once you’ve located the legislation you want, you get a table of contents, and you can click in to open and view the whole piece of legislation, or a single provision. This works fine, and with a large piece of legislation you get a little warning page that it will take a while to download.
The icon system is a little strange looking, but seems straightforward enough – you get a little P in a blue pentagon to show where the amendments are prospective for example. It has a nice explanatory section in the helpfile about these.
What would be useful would be a link from OPSI and the original text through to the current version on the SLD.
Also, a better sense of how soon it is updated than the rather vague “as soon as possible after it has been issued”.
For more info, have a look at:
The Statute Law Database – finally a reality – binary law
the Intute entry
the DCA press release
the Guardian articles:
At last, the price is right for access to our laws
Access denied to the laws that govern us
*Update: The government has changed its mind about the copyright licencing for the SLD :-
Binary Law: Statute Law Database – Free for all after all
BBC: Government looks at data shake up
SLD Copyright info*