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Law Subject guide: Finding Irish Legislation

Finding legislation

Acts of the Oireachtas  (Taken from Dr Darius Whelan's Law site)

Primary Legislation: Acts of the Oireachtas

Approximately forty Acts of the Oireachtas are passed each year. These are available in print from the Government Supplies Agency, which is part of the Office of Public Works - see contact details on the Irish Legal Publishers page.

In electronic form there are various sources:

  • The British and Irish Legal Information Institute (Bailii)
    Currently this site offers Acts as enacted from 1922 to date. Amendments are not incorporated into legislation, so great care must be taken in using this site to search for subsequent amendments of the Acts. Some sections of pre-1922 legislation which continues to apply in Ireland may be found by going to the Northern Ireland part of the Bailii site at www.bailii.org/nie/legis/num_act. An example is the Partnership Act 1890.
  • The Irish Legal Information Initiative  (Irlii)
    This site, managed by Dr John Mee of University College Cork Law Faculty, complements UCC's contribution to the Bailii project by providing recent Irish Acts.
  • The Attorney General's Office - www.irishstatutebook.ie 
    This site provides access to the Acts from 1922 to date and crucially also the Legislation Directory, which lists amendments to date. It is also possible to a certain extent to see whether a particular section of an Act is actually in force by checking the Commencement Orders section of the Legislation Directory.
  • The Houses of the Oireachtas
    Here you will find all Acts passed from 1992 to date, as well as all Bills published from 1997 to date. The site lists legislative history of Bills to date, including links to all relevant Parliamentary debates.

Secondary Legislation: Statutory Instruments

Most subordinate legislation is made by Government Ministers under powers conferred on them by Acts. Approximately 500 pieces of subordinate legislation are passed per year. Electronic access is provided at the following sites:

  • The British and Irish Legal Information Institute  (Bailii)
    Contains subordinate legislation passed from 1922 to date. There is no list of amendments.
  • The Attorney General's Office - www.irishstatutebook.ie. 
    Offers Subordinate Legislation from 1922 to date. There is no easy way to find out whether a piece of subordinate legislation is still in force or has been amended. Some assistance is provided in print form by Richard F. Humphreys Index to Irish Statutory Instruments(3 volumes, 1988)
  • Selected Statutory Instruments 2002 to date are available on the Irish Legal Information Initiative (Irlii) website. 
Database Description Access
Bailii BAILII  Irish Acts and Statutory Instruments from 1922. No password necessary
Irish Statute book Acts & Statutory Instruments from 1922 No password necessary
Justis  Irish Acts from 1939 (with some gaps). Statutory Instruments from 1998 to present. 

Student/Staff Number

+ AIT log in

Westlaw.ie Westlaw IE contains legislation dating back to 1835 including:   Student/Staff Number + AIT log in
Bunreacht na hÉireann – consolidated
A selection of Ireland’s SIs – consolidated – from 1958
Selected pre-1922 Acts – consolidated
Selected Post-1922 Acts – consolidated
Consolidated Superior Court, Circuit Court and District Court Rules
Primary and Secondary Sources of Law
The primary sources of law are where the laws originate. In Ireland these include:
 
  • the Constitution
  • acts and statutory instruments
  • European treaties
  • case law
 
Secondary sources of law are commentaries on the above, explaining the sources and principles of law. These typically include:
 
  • law books
  • legal journal articles
  • legal encyclopaedias, dictionaries and other reference sources
  • annotated legislation (legislation with detailed explanatory notes)
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