Can technology fix the Statute Book?

Can technology fix the Statute Book?

When is a law not a law? When it’s obsolete.

Okay, so that wasn’t the best joke in history but it does explain something about our legal system. By “obsolete” I mean laws that are unused and not useful, but still in force like a bear trap left somewhere in the thickets and long forgotten by the man who put it there. The first attempt to scientifically examine these “sleeping statutes” was the Repeal of Obsolete Statutes Act 1856 which repealed over a hundred “obsolete laws”. That process of examining and systemising our legal system is carried out by the Law Commission, an independent organisation created by the Law Commissions Act 1965 and charged by s 3 to “to take and keep under review all the law with which they are respectively concerned with a view to its systematic development and reform, including in particular… the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments, the reduction of the number of separate enactments and generally the simplification and modernisation of the law”.

So far so good, right? But in the digital age surely we can help the brains trust behind the Law Commission out with a little bit of technology? Here are the three ways we would freshen up the statute book.

 Tagging laws for freshness

Old law isn’t necessa

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About the author:
Sarah Plaka is Editor of Halsbury’s Law Exchange and Future of Law blog. She is Communications Manager at LexisNexis, specialising in corporate communications, content marketing, digital cultures and legal reform.