Commentary

A2.105 The retrospective application of legislation

Administration and compliance

A2.105 The retrospective application of legislation

A2.105 The retrospective application of legislation

A statute will have retrospective effect only if its retrospective operation is stated in clear terms or arises by necessary and distinct application from its terms1. This rule does not apply to changes in the procedure and practice of the courts: the rights of a litigant are to proceed in the manner prescribed for the time being, but a provision that removes a right of appeal is not regarded as merely procedural.

The reasons for this presumption were stated by Lord Simonds in John Hudson and Co Ltd v Kirkness2:

'When an Act of Parliament becomes law and its meaning is plain and unambiguous a citizen is entitled to order his affairs accordingly and to act upon the footing that the law is that it unambiguously is. He must be assumed to know that the law may be altered but, if

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