Q&As

What is the legal basis and effect of revoking UK legislation?

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Published on LexisPSL on 06/04/2018

The following Public Law Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is the legal basis and effect of revoking UK legislation?
  • What does it mean to repeal legislation?
  • What is the effect of repeal?
  • What is the effect of savings?
  • Further reading

What is the legal basis and effect of revoking UK legislation?

What does it mean to repeal legislation?

To repeal a piece of legislation revokes or rescinds it wholly or in part. The word ‘repeal’ is used for primary legislation. The word ‘revoke’ is used to similar effect for delegated legislation.

Repeal of legislation is usually made expressly, but can also be implied. A repeal can only be made by an instrument with power to override the relevant legislation. Depending on the circumstances, this may be:

  1. primary legislation

  2. delegated legislation

  3. devolved legislation

Legislative provisions may be impliedly repealed by inconsistent provisions introduced in later legislation. The doctrine of implied repeal is subject to:

  1. a general presumption against implied repeal

  2. a strong presumption against implied repeal where general provisions are introduced covering a situation for which specific provisions are already made in earlier legislation

There is also doubt that a constitutional statute can ever be impliedly repealed.

For recent judicial consideration of issues relating to legislative repeal in UK law, see for example: R (on the application of Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union; Re Agnew and others' application for judicial review (reference by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland); Re McCord's application for judicial review (reference by the Court of Appeal (Northern Ireland)).

What is the effect of repeal?

Repeal of

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