Prior to 1963, Acts of Parliament were numbered using the year of the sovereign’s reign in which the Act was passed, a system known as regnal years. Under the regnal year system, an Act passed early in a parliamentary session has a citation such as 5 Edw. 7, c. 9, for the ninth chapter in the session that commenced in the fifth year of the reign of King Edward 7th. It was common for a session to extend into a second regnal year, giving rise to a citation such as 8 & 9 Geo. 6, c. 4.
Other databases that have versions of historical statutes and regulations include the following:
Historical acts, bills and hansard for the Commonwealth and the States can be accessed through the following sources:
New South Wales
Australasian Colonial Legal History Library includes databases of historical legislation from the 1800s to 1900 available on AustLII.
Ozcase Queensland Historical Legal Collection also contains commencement legislation (1793-1867), applicable land legislation (1833-1910), Queensland criminal code, public acts and local personal and private acts (1828-1936).
Fighting Words: A Review of Sedition Laws in Australia (ALRC Report 104) is an Australian Law Reform Commission Report and contains a section on the origins and history of sedition laws in England and Australia.
More information about Australian legislation can be found on the Australian Cases, Legislation and Law Reform research guide.
Ancient laws (pre-1200s)
Several compilations of pre-1200 legislation exist and many can be found through the library catalogue:
Laws from 1235 onwards
Statutes of the Realm is the most authoritative sources for older UK legislation.
Hansard is the record of parliamentary debates.
House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard 1803-2005 are available through the UK Parliament. Hansard can be browsed by date, member, constituencies and offices.
Chronological Table of the Statutes
This online version of the Local Act Table lists in their chronological sequence all those Acts passed by the Parliaments at Westminster between 1797 and the end of 2008 which have come to be generally described as Local Acts, and the Orders confirmed by local Provisional Order Confirmation Acts in the sequence in which they are scheduled to their confirming Acts.
This Table lists in their chronological sequence the series of Private and Personal Acts passed by the Parliaments at Westminster between 1539 and the end of 2008.
Note: for more information on the definitions of local, private and personal acts, see the introduction to each table
The House of Commons Journal and the House of Lords Journal
The House of Commons Journal is the corrected, archive edition of Votes and Proceedings, the formal record of House of Commons business for a given day.
The House of Lords Journal is the corrected, archive edition of Minutes of Proceedings, the formal record of House of Lords business for a given day.
This compliation is a useful index to the Statutes from Magna Carta to 1809. It is available through Open Library.