Daily Archives: February 3, 2006
UK Acts online

I can’t believe in this day and age that OPSI (formerly HMSO) still don’t have
copies of UK acts of parliament before 1988 online. According to their
website:

Q. Why do you only display legislation back to
1988?

A. The website was launched in 1996. Initially, legislation was only
available from that year. In 2000 we took the decision to include older
legislation for which we had electronic files. These files only dated
back to 1988. Prior to this, legislation is only available in its
original print format.

I don’t think it’s acceptable to say “Oh it’s a bit of work to make them
available.” If Project Gutenberg
can make 17,000 out of copyright works available, I fail to see why the
government, who have resources at their disposal, can’t make the text of
approximately 3000 acts from the last 100 years available. This makes
several key acts which govern us today unavailable to the UK public,
including the Telecommunications Act 1984, Sale of Goods Act 1979,
Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and Unfair Contract Terms Act
1977.

On a similar note, they have only just started making PDF files
avilable for download (since October 2005). They don’t appear to be
planning on making existing documents available in PDF. Again, I don’t
think it would be too hard to make all their content availble in
alternative formats.

4 comments Categories: politics