Today the Department for Constitutional Affairs’ long awaited Statute Law Database project has launched, free at point of use for anyone. It’s super. Last week, access to consolidated versions of the law of the UK wasn’t possible without paying lots of money. Now it is free.

There are some down sides – 40 acts are not covered at all, law is only guaranteed included up until the end of 2001, and the data only has history of changes back to 1991 (details on status here).

Worse, from the point of view of OKF, the copyright/licensing situation is still not good. Now the data is free as in beer, can we have it free as in speech as well please? (More details on the Statute Law Database in my previous post on the subject)..

Even so, it is a fantastic new resource, and congratulations to everyone involved in creating it. Meanwhile, make sure you don’t bear armour, you maintain the dykes on the edges of your property, and you don’t write blank cheques.

Update: 2007-01-10 Thanks to the enquiries of Nick Holmes it has been confirmed that the original copyright notice was a mistake and the database will be fully open, available for anyone to use and reuse under the standard terms of the PSI click-use license. Hurrah!

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8 thoughts on “A great day for the law and for the people”

  1. This is fantastic news. This is an excellent start and we can keep pushing for truly open database of the UK law.

  2. I think this is great. There is a bit of work to do with the site though, it doesn’t validate even though the accessibility page states:

    “All other pages on this site comply with priority 1, 2 and 3 guidelines of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, validate as HTML 4.01 Transitional, and use structured semantic markup.”

    I know some people will assume I’m being pedantic, but I spend most of my working life making sites validate because of “Government Legislation” therefore I think they should take their own sites equally as seriously!

  3. We spend so much of our hard earned money on tax’s so we should get some things for free, and even the fact that they wanted to change for a dtabase of uk law is just a joke.
    This is great news and for once the right thing has happened.

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