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The English Legal System

The English Legal System (8th edn)

Alisdair Gillespie and Siobhan Weare
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date: 13 June 2024

p. 212. Domestic Sources of Law: Parliamentary Materiallocked

p. 212. Domestic Sources of Law: Parliamentary Materiallocked

  • Alisdair A. GillespieAlisdair A. GillespieProfessor of Criminal Law and Justice at Lancaster University
  •  and Siobhan WeareSiobhan WeareSenior Lecturer in Law at Lancaster University


This chapter examines the sources of domestic law. There are two sources of law (primary sources and secondary sources). Primary sources are considered to be those ‘authoritative’ sources that are produced by the legal process itself. Secondary sources are sources that are produced by others and are, in essence, a commentary on the law. Primary sources of law include statutory material and this itself is divided into two types of material: primary legislation (Acts of Parliament) and secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments, Orders in Council, etc). Statutes are Acts of Parliament and are either Public Acts (Acts that are of general application) or Private Acts (which are limited to a certain body). An Act will normally have to pass both the House of Commons and House of Lords and then receive Royal Assent before it becomes an Act of Parliament.

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