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New law takes effect today but is missing in action

New law takes effect today but is missing in action

“But the plans were on display…”

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

“That’s the display department.”

“With a flashlight.”

“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”

“So had the stairs.”

“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

One of the most complex commencement orders I’ve seen since… well, the last Immigration Act 2014 commencement order has allegedly come into force today, Monday 20 October 2014. At the time of writing it is not publicly available on the internet and it appears not to have been been published by The Stationary Office. Perhaps, like the bypass plans Arthur Dent belatedly learns of in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when the bulldozers arrive unexpectedly at his house, they have been published by being printed on goat hide in a dark, stairless cellar in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign warning “Beware of the Leopard”.

I have seen a draft version (ILPA members can do likewise here) but who knows what the final version looks like. Once it is in the public domain I’ll do a proper write up.

In the meantime. constitutional lawyers and anyone affected by the purported new powers may want to take a look at ZL & Anor v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Chancellor’s Department [2003] EWCA Civ 25 on the issue of unpublished statutes. I’m grateful to my colleague Louise Hooper for bringing it to my attention.

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