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In the UK, our laws are a mess. Not that the legal system
doesnt work, but that its not codified in any one place.
Our system of law has developed from approximately
to the present. The body of English law includes
legislation, Common Law, and a host of other legal norms
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
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
The thus-codified law establishes defined requirements
for citizens and organisations, and simplifies compliance.
Not entirely unbaked [hippo, Oct 16 2019]
[hippo, Oct 16 2019]
||This would make the law much more accessible to ordinary
people lacking legal qualifications. It hasn't a hope in hell of
||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).
||Sounds like a job for IBM Doors.
||//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.
||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
||In summary though, a thoroughly laudable suggestion [+]
||[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.
||[Frank] yes, I understand - not quite the same thing. Note though
that there is a handy repository of all UK law (see link)
secondary legislation! - thats 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
||1. Standard pained request not to conflate English law with
2. Reference to (paid) resources like Westlaw / LexisNexis
which contain large (but not exhaustive) libraries of
legislation, primary and secondary.
||So something like Google then but with everything unrelated
to law, its application & past cases stripped out?
||Probably, as YAML on Git? I already ready Halfbakery as pure interactive
||[calum]... yes, my apologies. Im Scottish too.
Thankfully I never was in a position to appreciate
the finer distinctions between the two legal
||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
||// I already ready Halfbakery as pure interactive YAML. //