Category Archives: Legislation

Brexit – sources of information

Please note: a regularly updated version of this posting is now on the main website at http://www.shugle.com/sources/brexit.htm?

Those of us living and working in the UK are constantly bombarded with news and information of varying quality on Brexit. I regularly run workshops on sources of business information and,? inevitably, these now include a section on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, commonly referred to as Brexit. One of the exercises I give those attending the workshop is to draw up their own individual list of resources that they are likely to use for keeping up to date, or as starting points for researching the topic. We then produce a combined list for the whole group.? I have listed below a selection of those resources, concentrating on the more general sources rather than industry specific sites that were mentioned in some of the sessions.? It is by no means a comprehensive list and this blog posting will not be updated,? but I have created a separate web page Brexit – UK withdrawal from the EU, which will be added to and amended periodically.

EU referendum results

Electoral Commission EU referendum results
The Electoral Commission is the independent body that oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. This page shows the voting totals and results by region and by area within that region. You can download the results data in full as a CSV file. There are also links to?results visualisations, information on?grants to designated lead campaigners, the Electoral Commissions?assessment of the EU referendum question?and their recommended amendment, and the?voting guides.

EU Referendum Results – BBC News
The BBC referendum results page and linked pages presents the same information as the Electoral Commission but in a slightly different way. There are links to the?BBC news stories and videos?on and around the date of the referendum.

Results of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016 – Wikipedia?
Another page showing the voting results in a variety of ways but in addition this one has links at the end to external sources reporting on the run up to the referendum and local press articles some of which show a breakdown of the results by ward.

News

Brexit: research and analysis – UK Parliament
“Research and analysis from Parliament’s libraries and committees on how leaving the EU will affect different policy areas in the UK”.
Brexit email alerts?on updates and new content are available.

Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU – BBC News
Background information on the what has happened so far, what is happening now, what has been agreed and what needs to be agreed. There is also a long list of FAQs (frequently asked questions), many of which cannot be answered yet but some possibilities are discussed.

The Guardian – Weekly Brexit Briefing
A very useful summary and update from The Guardian newspaper on what has been happening over the past week. You can sign up to receive the briefing by?weekly email?and there is also a weekly?Brexit Means podcast.

General News Search

If you are interested in seeing articles that represent a wider range of viewpoints and opinions, run a search on Brexit in Google News and Bing News. As well as the national and regional UK papers, these will also pick up stories appearing in the press in other countries.

Legislation

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 – UK Parliament
Use this page to monitor the progress of the Bill through Parliament and see related documents such as:

  • Full text of the Bill as introduced and further versions of the Bill as it is reprinted to incorporate amendments (proposals for change) made during its passage through Parliament.
  • Tracked changes versions of the Bill
  • Explanatory Notes
  • Full list of amendment papers relating to the Bill.
  • Public Bill Committee and report stage proceedings
  • House of Commons Library and House of Lords Library briefing papers
  • Will write letters (Questions put to government Ministers during debates on Bills may be answered by the Minister saying ‘I will write to the Hon Member’. “Will write” replies are not published in Hansard but are placed in the Library of the House concerned and published on the Parliamentary website.)

Alerts on changes to the page, stage reached by the Bill, and new documents are available by?email?and?RSS.

Blog | UK Constitutional Law Association
Affiliated to the International Association of Constitutional Law. The UKCLA blog provides analysis and comment on matters of constitutional law in the UK. Not suprisingly, many of the current blog postings cover some aspect of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

Jack of Kent blog
“News and comment on law and policy, from a liberal and critical perspective”. Written by David Allen Green who is a?legal commentator at FT.com?and a former?legal correspondent of the New Statesman. Currently posting mainly about Brexit.

Public Law for Everyone – Professor Mark Elliott
Another source of comment and analysis on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. Written by Mark Elliott, Professor of Public Law at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution. The views expressed on this blog are in a purely personal capacity.

Does price guarantee quality of information?

I recently co-presented a webinar on researching legal information. The event was organised by TFPL, and Alan Blanchard and myself reviewed free and paid for resources together with key search techniques.

Throughout the session we polled the audience on a number of issues, the first question being “Does price guarantee quality when you are purchasing information?”. Surprisingly, given the topic of the webinar, 70% voted ‘No’ with the remaining 30% opting for ‘I don’t know’ rather than ‘Yes’.?When we asked about their opinions on free information, though, 79% said they would need a result from a free source to be validated with a paid resource.

The audience could not qualify their answers – it was a simple yes/no/don’t know – but there were some interesting discussions on the issues after the event. The priced services certainly have to work hard to prove value for money and they cannot assume that their users will automatically renew each year. Free information has a big part to play in legal and business research but it is vital that one is aware of the limitations of free. For example, do you know how up to date legislation.gov.uk is and if it carries revised legislation? (See?http://www.legislation.gov.uk/help#aboutRevDate?for the answer). And then there is the issue of making Google run your search the way you want it run, without personalisation or deviation.

I am running two public access workshops this autumn for TFPL that look at free versus fee resources for business and legal information. The first, on 19th September 2013, is Business information: key web resources?and covers:

  • Portals and key starting points
  • Company information
  • Industry information
  • Official statistics,?market research
  • News sources, RSS and alerting services
  • Social media and professional networks

The second is Free resources and search techniques for EU and UK legislation and is on 13th November 2013. It will be looking at:

  • How to use advanced search commands to find news and information on legislation
  • How to use reading level and date ranges to focus the search
  • Searching foreign language pages
  • Options for searching journals, research information, grey literature
  • Alternatives to Google, specialist tools and sites
  • Assessing quality and relevance

Both days include practical sessions and places on the workshops are limited. Contact TFPL for further information and bookings.

UK Statute Law Database

The UK Statute Law Database (SLD), which is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom, has been made available free of charge online. The official press release is on the Department of Constitutional Affairs web site (http://tinyurl.com/2o8vuh). Most legislation that is currently in force has been published on the web site with some exceptions. For 2006 they specifically mention The Armed Forces Act 2006 and The Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 (N.I. 21). I cannot think of two more diverse pieces of information to omit! I am told by colleagues that there are other gaps but the site admits to this and there are details of what is still be added.

On the home page you can search for text in the title, by year, number and legislation type. There is also an A-Z index and a chronological index. The Advanced Search has additional options that include date ranges, geographical extent and text search. The earliest legislation I could find is the Statute of Marlborough 1267 “made at Marlborough in the Presence of our Lord King Henry, and Richard King of the Romans, and the Lord Edward eldest Son of the said King Henry, and the Lord Ottobon, at that Time Legate in England”. It includes “Remedy against Accountants. Farmers shall do no Waste. Remedy thereon.” I shall leave you to find out for yourselves what that is all about.

As well as reading the full text of the legislation you can view amended legislation as it has changed over time and sections that have yet to come into force. A green “A” icon links to the “attributes” of the legislation, such as start date and extent, and enables you to move between versions. The blue “P” icon indicates provisions, and versions of amended provisions, that have not yet been brought into force. I found this particularly useful for checking when parts of the Companies Act 2006 come into force. If you are viewing older legislation that has been amended, a box warns you of the fact.

Is this database going to make access to UK legislation easier? If you know your way around the structure of Statute Law then yes. Those who do not and who have never had to to do battle with Acts, Statutory Instruments and the like will not be any the wiser. If you just want to read or download a copy of a particular Act then the Office of Public Sector Information at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts.htm will probably be quicker, and it now has RSS feeds for alerting you to new Acts and Statutory Instruments. Bills currently before the UK Parliament are available on the UK Parliament web site at http://www.parliament.uk/ (email alerts only). Command Papers and departmental House of Commons Papers are at http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/ (RSS feed available).