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Formalised legal system

Use requirements management approach to codify our laws
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In the UK, our laws are a mess. Not that the legal system doesn’t work, but that it’s not codified in any one place.

Our system of law has developed from approximately 1066 to the present. The body of English law includes legislation, Common Law, and a host of other legal norms established by Parliament, the Crown, and the judiciary (defining case law)

No consistent national legal system has yet been established. And yet “lack of awareness is no defence”

I propose a single central public database that documents each piece of legislation, and provides links to cases to show how it has been interpreted, implemented and enacted in the past.

This would be a resource for law-abiding citizens, to enforcers and to the judiciary, and would provide traceability and accountability for all law-users.

The database would be updated with the details and outcome of each legal case nationally, to ensure consistency and reveal changing interpretations and applications.

The thus-codified law establishes defined requirements for citizens and organisations, and simplifies compliance.

Frankx, Oct 15 2019

XML laws (Re-)Publish_20all_...0readable)_20format
Not entirely unbaked [hippo, Oct 16 2019]

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ [hippo, Oct 16 2019]


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       This would make the law much more accessible to ordinary people lacking legal qualifications. It hasn't a hope in hell of happening.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 15 2019
  

       Pretty much the only reason we need lawyers is because all the laws etc are written by lawyers using Lawyer Speak, so the rest of us non-lawyers can't understand it. If the laws were written in ordinary language, 95% of lawyers would be out of a job (still need a few for precedents research etc).
neutrinos_shadow, Oct 15 2019
  

       Sounds like a job for IBM Doors.
RayfordSteele, Oct 16 2019
  

       //from approximately 1066//   

       I'm pretty sure that William the Bastard's starting point was that the laws of Edward the Confessor should remain in place except as modified by William. So, no, it goes back further than that.
pertinax, Oct 16 2019
  

       The other problem with identifying a single locus of English Law is that there's a great deal of it that's been farmed out to secondary bodies. The FCA, EPA, ONR and other regulatory entities have sovereignty delegated in their favour, and granted powers via top-level Parliamentary Acts to define their own legislative frameworks. These bodies publish their rules in a plethora of overlapping guidelines, policy documents and schedules - all of which, if you're undertaking activities so regulated, would result in legal penalty if not adhered to.   

       You'd have thought that in so many thousands of years, someone would have thought it helpful to put everything conveniently in one place by now - and efforts have been made in that direction - Hansard, The Current Law Service, something called The Digest, and The Law Reports Index - all attempt to provide an overview of what's what. For an interesting historical perspective, there's "The Proceedings of the Old Bailey" which provides verbatim transcripts of all court chat covering proceedings between 1674- 1913. (Though to be fair, this is less a catalogue of law, than a fascinating historical document)   

       In summary though, a thoroughly laudable suggestion [+]
zen_tom, Oct 16 2019
  

       [hippo] - I'm not particularly suggesting that the content should be machine-readable. Just that the body of law is essentially a requirement specification, but doesn't exist in a single accessible place, is ambiguous and open to interpretation, and is modified by each interpretation.   

       Something like DOORS or another requirements management system (or something similar) would be a way to manage that.
Frankx, Oct 16 2019
  

       [Frank] yes, I understand - not quite the same thing. Note though that there is a handy repository of all UK law (see link)
[zen] ooh, secondary legislation! - that’s a bit of a minefield. Also there are important areas where there is no legislation, e.g. there are no laws relating to the issuance of passports in the UK
hippo, Oct 16 2019
  

       1. Standard pained request not to conflate English law with UK law.
2. Reference to (paid) resources like Westlaw / LexisNexis which contain large (but not exhaustive) libraries of legislation, primary and secondary.
calum, Oct 16 2019
  

       So something like Google then but with everything unrelated to law, its application & past cases stripped out?
Skewed, Oct 16 2019
  

       Probably, as YAML on Git? I already ready Halfbakery as pure interactive YAML. ^__^
Mindey, Oct 16 2019
  

       [calum]... yes, my apologies. I’m Scottish too. Thankfully I never was in a position to appreciate the finer distinctions between the two legal systems.
Frankx, Oct 16 2019
  

       Maybe Britain should take advantage of Brexit to restart their body of laws (and maybe get a constitution at the same time). Just set a hard deadline of 5 years or so, before which the current laws continue to apply, and then import all the old laws that are still wanted into the new body through the current (or a new) legislative process. If they don't get in by the deadline, they're no longer in force, but can still be reenacted later if so desired.   

       It might be worthwhile, if you're going to write a constitution, to include a clause that says that any law that isn't both freely readable (both free as in beer and free as in speech) and listed on some master list of laws is invalid. That should keep this situation from recurring.   

       Maybe also look at India's constitution. It's renowned for being the longest in the world, and is therefore probably also the throroughest.   

       // there's a great deal of it that's been farmed out to secondary bodies. The FCA, EPA, ONR and other regulatory entities have sovereignty delegated in their favour, and granted powers via top-level Parliamentary Acts to define their own legislative frameworks. These bodies publish their rules in a plethora of overlapping guidelines, policy documents and schedules - all of which, if you're undertaking activities so regulated, would result in legal penalty if not adhered to. //   

       It's similar in the US, with, e.g., the FCC being allowed to set regulations regarding communication and the FAA being allowed to set regulations regarding aviation. I assume most countries have a similar arrangement, because the legislature is too high-level to define and manage such regulations, though I don't know if any country has a master list of all of these regulations.   

       However, in Canada, we have at least one arrangement which is objectively worse: we have a private company, called CSA Group (formerly the Canadian Standards Association), that, in addition to operating as a standards organization like any other, writes and publishes our electrical code. The electrical code is law, and yet they now charge you money to read it. Also, they let companies in the electrical industry vote on what goes in the code, and they let these companies buy additional votes. As well, 40% of their other standards (which I presume you also have to pay to read) are apparently referenced by laws made by the actual government.   

       // I already ready Halfbakery as pure interactive YAML. //   

       Interesting
notexactly, Dec 09 2019
  


 

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