Printing and promulgation of statutes

30.75As soon as a public bill has received the Royal Assent, a print of the Act in the form in which it was finally passed is prepared in the Public Bill Office of the House of Lords. The date on which the Royal Assent was signified is inserted after the title (see below) and the Act is given a chapter number. Acts are numbered serially throughout each calendar year in the order in which they receive the Royal Assent.1 Public General Acts form one series and are numbered in Arabic characters; Provisional Order Confirmation Acts and Local Acts2 form a second series and are numbered in small Roman characters; Personal Acts3 form a third series and are numbered in italicised Arabic figures; and General Synod Measures form a fourth series, numbered in Arabic characters.

After examination of the text to ensure that it is correct, a proof copy of every public Act and Measure is certified by the Clerk of Legislation in the House of Lords and sent to the Queen's Printer,4 and a request is sent to the Controller of HM Stationery Office to issue instructions for its immediate publication.

Two prints are prepared on archival paper. One of these is sent for custody to the National Archives; the other, having been endorsed with the words by which the Royal Assent was signified, is signed by the Clerk of the Parliaments and becomes the official copy of the Act, and is lodged in the Parliamentary Archives. Paper prints of the Act are placed on sale to the public, and such printed copies, known as Queen's Printer's copies, are accepted as evidence in courts of law. Acts are published online by the National Archives.

Footnotes

  1. Acts of Parliament Numbering and Citation Act 1962. Before 1963 Acts were numbered serially by sessions, and the regnal year or years of the session were printed at the top. The session during which a bill was presented is now indicated by the number of the current Parliament and session thereof in the bottom right-hand corner of the title page. This is omitted in the Act copy.
  2. The printing of these Acts is dealt with by the Private Bill Office in the House of Lords.
  3. The printing of these Acts is dealt with by the Private Bill Office in the House of Lords.
  4. See question relating to a printer's error in the Elementary Education Act 1891, Parl Deb (1892) 1, c 687.