The Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) has released a Discussion Paper outlining proposals to update and re-enact the Interpretation Act 1999 and the Legislation Act 2012. The Paper follows a 2008 Law Commission Report recommending the consolidation of all provisions relating to Acts of Parliament to improve accessibility. The Legislation Act 2012 implemented a majority of the Law Commission's recommendations. The current Discussion Paper seeks views on the completion of these recommendations.

The Paper outlines a number of areas in the Interpretation Act that require change. For example:

  • Inserting a provision dealing with the status of examples used in legislation to explain application (currently each statute that uses examples explains this in its own interpretation provisions).
  • Clarifying commencement order powers including that an order can specify the time on a day for legislation to come into force.
  • Updating the definition of the terms ‘public notification’ and ‘public notice’ to include a notice on the internet (if accessible at no cost).
  • Adjusting the definition of ‘working day’ to account for local anniversary days
  • Specifying that where legislation expresses a period of time as being “within” a specified number of days of a date or event, the specified date or the day of the specified event is disregarded and the period begins at the beginning of the next day.
  • Updating words and terms in the Interpretation Act that are currently inconsistent.

The Paper also poses two broad questions for comment relating to the calculation of monthly time periods, and including a definition of the Crown.

Comments on the issues and proposals in the Paper are due by 16 April. For further information and to read the full Paper, see here.