The number of laws passed in Britain by our government grows year on year. That may or may not be a good thing, but for a company like ours which stores paper – including lots of legal documents – it is quite good news.
Tony Blair’s government was responsible for 54% more new laws per year in office than Margaret Thatcher, according to research by Sweet & Maxwell.
Over 2500 new laws were added each year under the Labour government, compared with 2300 a year under Major, and 1700 a year under Thatcher.
The growth was most marked in criminal law, where 40 Criminal Justice Acts have been introduced since 1997. The runner up is employment law.
In total Tony Blair’s administration brought in 26,849 new laws compared with 15,212 in John Major’s much shorter regime.
Len Sealy, Professor of Law, University of Cambridge, said in response to these figures “I think that a lot of the legislation is not so much originated by governments as part of their policy but is a reactive response to what are perceived as the concerns of us as a society – fed from day to day by the media, which can make every bit of news into a crisis. Governments like to be seen to be doing something in the headlines.”
Interestingly these figures don’t include EU legislation that becomes law in the UK without being incorporated in UK law as a statue. If those figures were included the numbers would be higher still for there were over 2,100 European Regulations in 2006 alone.
Another recent phenomenon is not simply the number of statutes but also their size. Of the 2006 Acts, five had over 100 pages, three over 200, one over 300, one over 500 and one over 700!
The Companies Act 2006, was the longest Act of 2006, and is also the longest Act in British Parliamentary history, with 1,300 sections, covering nearly 700 pages, and containing no less than 15 schedules.
But now the bad (or good) news – depending on your view. The number looks like shooting up once again as the current Coalition Government seems set on breaking all records with the number of bills it is pushing through.
I am thinking of expanding our store, since every bill brings more legal cases, which means more paperwork that needs storing.
There’s more information about our document storage facility on our website, alternatively give us a call on 0800 783 9516.