Citations of Statutes

Citation of legislation is always important to any lawyer. It is quite simple really. Glanville Williams states that

Statutes are cited in three ways; by the short title, which includes the calendar year (for example, the Fatal Accidents Act 1846), by the regnal year or years and the chapter (for example, 9 & 10 Vict. c.93), or by a compromise of the two (for example, the Fatal Accidents Act 1846 (c.93).1

When quoting parts of an Act it is useful to remember that the first division is a section, the second division is a subsection, the third is a paragraph, and a fourth is a sub-paragraph.

Civil partnership

(1) A civil partnership is a relationship between two people of the same sex (“civil partners”)—

(a) which is formed when they register as civil partners of each other—

(i) in England or Wales (under Part 2),

(ii) in Scotland (under Part 3),

(iii) in Northern Ireland (under Part 4), or

(iv) outside the United Kingdom under an Order in Council made under Chapter 1 of Part 5 (registration at British consulates etc. or by armed forces personnel), or

(b) which they are treated under Chapter 2 of Part 5 as having formed (at the time determined under that Chapter) by virtue of having registered an overseas relationship.

(2) Subsection (1) is subject to the provisions of this Act under or by virtue of which a civil partnership is void.

(3) A civil partnership ends only on death, dissolution or annulment.

(4) The references in subsection (3) to dissolution and annulment are to dissolution and annulment having effect under or recognised in accordance with this Act.

(5) References in this Act to an overseas relationship are to be read in accordance with Chapter 2 of Part 5.2

This is section 1 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004. This is shown by the number in bold at the start of the extract. Following this is a number 1 in brackets (1) – this indicates the start of sub-section (1). Sub-section (1) is broken down in  turn into a number of paragraphs indicated by letters (a), and then into a number of further sub-divisions, called sub-paragraphs, by Roman numerals (for example, (iii)).

The above paragraph3 is what I have learnt from my years of reading legislation which started when I was about ten years old and was reading the old loose-leaf binders of Statutes in Force which, formerly, were in many public libraries. Of course, nowadays, up-to-date legislation can be found online on various websites including:


1. Learning the Law, p.45
2. Civil Partnership Act 2004, c.33
3. Not a paragraph marked by a letter!

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