Answered By: Martin Hodgson
Last Updated: 06 Aug, 2015     Views: 67294

Most legislation is now available online, so to reference an Act of Parliament (post 1963) your citation order should be:

  • Title of Act including year and chapter (in italics)
  • Country/jurisdiction (only include this if you are using Legislation from more than one country)
  • Available at: URL
  • (Accessed: date)

For example:

Health and Social Care Act 2012, c.7. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/7/contents/enacted (Accessed: 8 January 2014).

Your citation would be:

...(Health and Social Care Act 2012)

This advice was taken from Cite Them Right, 9th ed, or for more information on Referencing see our Referencing Library guide.

Comments (4)

  1. An onerous task and one which often gets overlooked is keeping citations current. What is the easiest way to keep a library of documents which cite numerous acts, up to date? Is there a stock phrase which can be used to cite a current act and any subsequent amendments? Is it acceptable to cite acts by use of hyperlinks to acts in electronic documents, to keep up to date?
    by Mark Tooke on 07 Oct, 2015.
  2. You could always put "(as amended)" after the name of the Act. So long as you are citing the legislation.gov.uk online source, then the hyperlink will go through to the amended version of the Act.
    by Paul on 10 Apr, 2016.
  3. What about acts that are pre 1963 and not available online?
    by Phillip Garrett on 21 Aug, 2016.
  4. A major change in the citation of UK legal sources took place in 1963. Before this, an Act was cited according to the regnal year (that is, the number of years since the monarch's accession).

    For pre-1963 statutes, use this citation order:
    •Short title of Act and year (in italics)
    •Regnal year, name of sovereign and chapter number (in round brackets)
    •Title of collection (in italics)
    •Year of publication (in round brackets)
    •Edition (only include edition number if it is not the first edition)
    •Place of publication: publisher

    Example: Pre–1963 Act

    In-text citation:

    With the Act of Supremacy 1534 (26 Hen. 8, c. 1) ...

    Reference list:

    Act of Supremacy 1534 (26 Hen. 8, c. 1). The Statutes (1950) 3rd edn. London: HMSO.
    by Martin Hodgson on 22 Aug, 2016.