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Interpretation Act 1978

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Schedules

Schedule 1Words and Expressions Defined

Note: The years or dates which follow certain entries in this Schedule are relevant for the purposes of paragraph 4 of Schedule 2 (application to existing enactments).

Definitions

" Associated state" means a territory maintaining a status of association with the United Kingdom in accordance with the West Indies Act 1967. [16th February 1967] " Bank of England " means, as the context requires, the Governor and Company of the Bank of England or the bank of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England. " Bank of Ireland " means, as the context requires, the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland or the bank of the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland. " British Islands " means the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. [1889] " British possession " means any part of Her Majesty's dominions outside the United Kingdom ; and where parts of such dominions are under both a central and a local legislature, all parts under the central legislature are deemed, for the purposes of this definition, to be one British possession. [1889] " British subject" and " Commonwealth citizen " have the same meaning, that is—

(a)a person who under the British Nationality Act 1948 is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or who under any enactment for the time being in force in a country mentioned in section 1(3) of that Act is a citizen of that country; and

(b)any other person who has the status of a British subject under that Act or any subsequent enactment. " Building regulations ", in relation to England and Wales, means regulations made under section 61(1) of the Public Health Act 1936. " Central funds ", in an enactment providing in relation to England and Wales for the payment of costs out of central funds, means money provided by Parliament. "Charity Commissioners" means the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales referred to in section 1 of the Charities Act 1960. " Church Commissioners " means the Commissioners constituted by the Church Commissioners Measure 1947. " Colonial legislature ", and " legislature " in relation to a British possession, mean the authority, other than the Parliament of the United Kingdom or Her Majesty in Council, competent to make laws for the possession. [1889] "Colony" means any part of Her Majesty's dominions outside the British Islands except—

(a)countries having fully responsible status within the Commonwealth ;

(b)territories for whose external relations a country other than the United Kingdom is responsible ;

(c)associated states ;

and where parts of such dominions are under both a central and a local legislature, all parts under the central legislature are deemed for the purposes of this definition to be one colony. [1889] "Commencement", in relation to an Act or enactment, means the time when the Act or enactment comes into force. " Committed for trial" means—

(a)in relation to England and Wales, committed in custody or on bail by a magistrates' court pursuant to section 1 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952, or by any judge or other authority having power to do so, with a view to trial before a judge and jury ; [1889]

(b)in relation to Northern Ireland, committed in custody or on bail by a magistrates' court pursuant to section 45 of the Magistrates' Courts Act (Northern Ireland) 1964, or by a court, judge, resident magistrate, justice of the peace or other authority having power to do so, with a view to trial on indictment. [1st January 1979] " The Communities", "the Treaties" or "the Community Treaties " and other expressions defined by section 1 of and Schedule 1 to the European Communities Act 1972 have the meanings prescribed by that Act. " Comptroller and Auditor General" means the Comptroller-General of the receipt and issue of Her Majesty's Exchequer and Auditor-General of Public Accounts appointed in pursuance of the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866. " Consular officer " has the meaning assigned by Article 1 of the Vienna Convention set out in Schedule 1 to the Consular Relations Act 1968. " The Corporation Tax Acts " means—

(a)Parts X and XI of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970;

(b)all other provisions of that or any other Act relating to corporation tax or to any other matter dealt with in Part X or Part XI of that Act;

(c)all the provisions of Part IV of the Finance Act 1965 and of any other enactment which, at the passing of the said Act of 1970, formed part of or was to be construed with the Corporation Tax Acts. " County court" means—

(a)in relation to England and Wales, a court held for a district under the County Courts Act 1959 ; [1846]

(b)in relation to Northern Ireland, a court held for a division under the County Courts Act (Northern Ireland) 1959. [1889] " Court of Appeal" means—

(a)in relation to England and Wales, Her Majesty's Court of Appeal in England ;

(b)in relation to Northern Ireland, Her Majesty's Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland. " Court of summary jurisdiction ", " summary conviction " and " Summary Jurisdiction Acts ", in relation to Northern Ireland, have the same meanings as in Measures of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Acts of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. " Crown Court" means—

(a)in relation to England and Wales, the Crown Court constituted by section 4 of the Courts Act 1971;

(b)in relation to Northern Ireland, the Crown Court constituted by section 4 of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978. " Crown Estate Commissioners " means the Commissioners referred to in secton 1 of the Crown Estate Act 1961. " England " means, subject to any alteration of boundaries under Part IV of the Local Government Act 1972, the area consisting of the counties established by section 1 of that Act, Greater London and the Isles of Scilly. [1st April 1974]. "Financial year" means, in relation to matters relating to the Consolidated Fund, the National Loans Fund, or moneys provided by Parliament, or to the Exchequer or to central taxes or finance, the twelve months ending with 31st March. [1889] " Governor-General" includes any person who for the time being has the powers of the Governor-General, and " Governor ", in relation to any British possession, includes the officer for the time being administering the government of that possession. [1889] " High Court " means—

(a)in relation to England and Wales, Her Majesty's High Court of Justice in England;

(b)in relation to Northern Ireland, Her Majesty's High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland. " The Income Tax Acts " means all enactments relating to income tax, including any provisions of the Corporation Tax Acts which relate to income tax. " Land " includes buildings and other structures, land covered with water, and any estate, interest, easement, servitude or right in or over land. [1st January 1979]. " Lands Clauses Acts " means—

(a)in relation to England and Wales, the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act 1845 and the Lands Clauses Consolidation Acts Amendment Act 1860, and any Acts for the time being in force amending those Acts ; [1889]

(b)in relation to Scotland, the Lands Clauses Consolidation (Scotland) Act 1845 and the Lands Clauses Consolidation Acts Amendment Act 1860, and any Acts for the time being in force amending those Acts ; [1889]

(c)in relation to Northern Ireland, the enactments defined as such by section 46(1) of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954. [1889] " Local land charges register ", in relation to England and Wales, means a register kept pursuant to section 3 of the Local Land Charges Act 1975, and " the appropriate local land charges register " has the meaning assigned by section 4 of that Act. " London borough " means a borough described in Schedule 1 to the London Government Act 1963, " inner London borough " means one of the boroughs so described and numbered from 1 to 12.and " outer London borough " means one of the boroughs so described and numbered from 13 to 32, subject (in each case) to any alterations made under Part IV of the Local Government Act 1972. "Lord Chancellor" means the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. " Magistrates' court" has the meaning assigned to it—

(a)in relation to England and Wales, by section 124 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952 ;

(b)in relation to Northern Ireland, by section 1 of the Magistrates' Courts Act (Northern Ireland) 1964. " Month " means calendar month. [1850] " National Debt Commissioners " means the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt. "Northern Ireland legislation" has the meaning assigned by section 24(5) of this Act. [1st January 1979] " Oath " and " affidavit " include affirmation and declaration, and " swear " includes affirm and declare. " Ordnance Map" means a map made under powers conferred by the Ordnance Survey Act 1841 or the Boundary Survey (Ireland) Act 1854. " Parliamentary Election " means the election of a Member to serve in Parliament for a constituency. [1889] " Person " includes a body of persons corporate or unincorporate. [1889] " Police area ", " police authority " and other expressions relating to the police have the meaning or effect described—

(a)in relation to England and Wales, by section 62 of the Police Act 1964;

(b)in relation to Scotland, by sections 50 and 51(4) of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967. " The Privy Council" means the Lords and others of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council. " Registered medical practitioner " means a fully registered person within the meaning of the Medical Act 1956. [1st January 1979] " Rules of Court" in relation to any court means rules made by the authority having power to make rules or orders regulating the practice and procedure of that court, and in Scotland includes Acts of Adjournal and Acts of Sederunt; and the power of the authority to make rules of court (as above defined) includes power to make such rules for the purpose of any Act which directs or authorises anything to be done by rules of court. [1889] "Secretary of State" means one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State. " Sheriff", in relation to Scotland, includes sheriff principal. [1889] "Statutory declaration" means a declaration made by virtue of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835. " Supreme Court" means—

(a)in relation to England and Wales, the Court of Appeal and the High Court together with the Crown Court;

(b)in relation to Northern Ireland, the Supreme Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland. " The Tax Acts " means the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970 and all other provisions of the Income Tax Acts and the Corporation Tax Acts. [12th March 1970] "The Treasury" means the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury. "United Kingdom" means Great Britain and Northern Ireland. [12th April 1927] " Wales" means, subject to any alteration of boundaries made under Part IV of the Local Government Act 1972, the area consisting of the counties established by section 20 of that Act. [1st April 1974] " Water authority ", in relation to England and Wales, means an authority established in accordance with section 2 of the Water Act 1973 ; and " water authority area ", in relation to any functions of such an authority, means the area in respect of which the water authority are for the time being to exercise those functions. " Writing " includes typing, printing, lithography, photography and other modes of representing or reproducing words in a visible form, and expressions referring to writing are construed accordingly.

Construction of certain expressions relating to children

In relation to England and Wales the following expressions and references, namely—

(a)the expression " the parental rights and duties ";

(b)the expression "legal custody" in relation to a child (as defined in the Children Act 1975); and

(c)any reference to the person with whom a child (as so defined) has his home,

are to be construed in accordance with Part IV of that Act. [12th November 1975]

Construction of certain expressions relating to offences

In relation to England and Wales—

(a)" indictable offence " means an offence which, if committed by an adult, is triable on indictment, whether it is exclusively so triable or triable either way ;

(b)" summary offence" means an offence which, if committed by an adult, is triable only summarily;

(c)" offence triable either way" means an offence which, if committed by an adult, is triable either on indictment or summarily;

and the terms " indictable ", " summary " and " triable either way ". in their application to offences, are to be construed accordingly. In the above definitions references to the way or ways in which an offence is triable are to be construed without regard to the effect, if any, of section 23 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 on the mode of trial in a particular case.

Schedule 2Application of Act to Existing Enactments

Part IActs

1The following provisions of this Act apply to Acts whenever passed:—

Section 6(a) and (c) so far as applicable to enactments relating to offences punishable on indictment or on summary conviction Section 9 Section 10 Section 11 so far as it relates to subordinate legislation made after the year 1889 Section 18 Section 19(2).

2The following apply to Acts passed after the year 1850:—

Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 6(a) and (c) so far as not applicable to such Acts by virtue of paragraph 1 Section 15 Section 17(1).

3The following apply to Acts passed after the year 1889:—

Section 4 Section 7 Section 8 Section 12 Section 13 Section 14 so far as it relates to rules, regulations or byelaws Section 16(1) Section 17(2)(a) Section 19(1) Section 20(1).

4(1)Subject to the following provisions of this paragraph—

(a)paragraphs of Schedule 1 at the end of which a year or date earlier than the commencement of this Act is specified apply, so far as applicable, to Acts passed on or after the date, or after the year, so specified ; and

(b)paragraphs of that Schedule at the end of which no year or date is specified apply, so far as applicable, to Acts passed at any time.

(2)The definition of " British Islands ", in its application to Acts passed after the establishment of the Irish Free State but before the commencement of this Act, includes the Republic of Ireland.

(3)The definition of " colony ", in its application to an Act passed at any time before the commencement of this Act, includes—

(a)any colony within the meaning of section 18(3) of the Interpretation Act 1889 which was excluded, but in relation only to Acts passed at a later time, by any enactment repealed by this Act;

(b)any country or territory which ceased after that time to be part of Her Majesty's dominions but subject to a provision for the continuation of existing law as if it had not so ceased;

and paragraph (b) of the definition does not apply.

(4)The definition of " Lord Chancellor " does not apply to Acts passed before 1st October 1921 in which that expression was used in relation to Ireland only.

(5)The definition of "person", so far as it includes bodies corporate, applies to any provision of an Act whenever passed relating to an offence punishable on indictment or on summary conviction.

(6)This paragraph applies to the National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 and the Water Act 1973 as if they were passed after 1st April 1974.

5The following definitions shall be treated as included in Schedule 1 for the purposes specified in this paragraph—

(a)in any Act passed before 1st April 1974, a reference to England includes Berwick upon Tweed and Monmouthshire and, in the case of an Act passed before the Welsh Language Act 1967, Wales ;

(b)in any Act passed before the commencement of this Act and after the year 1850, " land " includes messuages, tenements and hereditaments, houses and buildings of any tenure ;

(c)in any Act passed before the commencement of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975, "the Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Acts " means Part II of that Act.

Part IISubordinate Legislation

6Sections 4(a), 9 and 19(1), and so much of Schedule 1 as defines the following expressions, namely—

British subject and Commonwealth citizen ;

England;

Local land charges register and appropriate local land charges register;

Police area (and related expressions) in relation to Scotland;

United Kingdom;

Wales,

apply to subordinate legislation made at any time before the commencement of this Act as they apply to Acts passed at that time.

7The definition in Schedule 1 of " county court", in relation to England and Wales, applies to Orders in Council made after the year 1846.

Schedule 3Enactments Repealed

Chapter or NumberShort TitleExtent of Repeal
20 Geo. 2.c.42.The Wales and Berwick Act 1746.The whole Act.
33 Geo. 3. c. 13.The Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1793.The words from "and to be the date " to the end.
43 & 44 Vict. c. 9.The Statutes (Definition of Time) Act 1880.The whole Act.
47 & 48 Vict. c. 62.The Revenue Act 1884.In section 14, the second paragraph, that is the words from " Any reference " to " Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866" in the second place where that Act is referred to in the section.
52 & 53 Vict. c. 63.The Interpretation Act 1889.The whole Act except paragraphs (4), (5) and (14) of section 13 in their application to Northern Ireland.
53 & 54 Vict. c. 21.The Inland Revenue Regulation Act 1890.In section 38(1), the words from "and" to " of this Act ".
59 & 60 Vict. c. 14.The Short Titles Act 1896.Section 3.
S.R. & O. 1923 No. 405.The Irish Free State (Consequential Adaptation of Enactments) Order 1923.In the Schedule, the entry relating to the Interpretation Act 1889.
15&16Geo. 5.No. 1.The Interpretation Measure 1925.Section 1.
17&18Geo.5.c. 4.The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927.In section 2(2) the words " Act passed and ".
22&23Geo.5.c. 4.The Statute of Westminster 1931.Section 11.
11 & 12 Geo. 6.c. 7.The Ceylon Independence Act 1947.Section 4(2).
11 &12Geo.6.c. 56.The British Nationality Act 1948.

In section 1(2) the words

" other enactment or " and

the words " passed or ".

15 & 16 Geo. 6& 1 Eliz. 2. c 55The Magistrates' Courts Act 1952.In Schedule 5, the amendment- of the Interpretation Act 1889.
4 & 5 Eliz. 2. c.76The Medical Act 1956.Section 52(3).
5 & 6 Eliz. 2.c. 6.The Ghana Independence Act 1957.Section 4(1).
8 & 9 Eliz. 2.c. 55.The Nigeria Independence Act 1960.Section 3(1).
9 & 10 Eliz. 2.c. 16.The Sierra Leone Independence Act 1961.Section 3(1).
10 & 11 Eliz. 2.c. 1.The Tanganyika Independence Act 1961.Section 3(1).
10&11 Eliz. 2.c. 30.The Northern Ireland Act 1962.Section 27.
10 & 11 Eliz. 2. c. 40.The Jamaica Independence Act 1962.Section 3(1).
10&11 Eliz.2. c. 54.The Trinidad and Tobago Independence Act 1962.Section 3(1).
10 & 11 Eliz. 2. c. 57.The Uganda Independence Act 1962.Section 3(1).
1963 c. 33.The London Government Act 1963.In section 1, in subsection (1) the words " and any other " and in subsection (6) the words from " and section 15 " to " that is to say ".
1963 c. 54.The Kenya Independence Act 1963.Section 4(1).
1964 c. 46.The Malawi Independence Act 1964.Section 4(1).
1964 c. 48.The Police Act 1964.In section 62 the words from " and in any other enactment " to " this Act) ".
1964 c. 86.The Malta Independence Act 1964.Section 4(1).
1964 c. 93.The Gambia Independence Act 1964.Section 4(1).
1966 c. 14.The Guyana Independence Act 1966.Section 5(1).
1966 c. 37.The Barbados Independence Act 1966.Section 4(1).
1967 c. 4.The West Indies Act 1967.Section 3(5).
1967 c. 66.The Welsh Language Act 1967.Section 4.
1967 c. 77.The Police (Scotland) Act 1967.In section 50, the words from " and in any other enactment" to "this Act)"; and in section 51, in subsection (4), the words from " and in any other enactment " to " this Act)".
1968 c. 8.The Mauritius Independence Act 1968.Section 4(1).
1968 c. 13.The National Loans Act 1968.Section 1(6).
1970 c. 10.The Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970.In section 526, in subsection (1) the words " and in any other Act"; and in subsection (2) the words " and in any Act passed after this Act."
1970 c. 50.The Fiji Independence Act 1970.Section 4(1).
1971 c. 58.The Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971.In section 4(3) the words from " (which" to " the said section 28 ".
1972 c. 68.The European Communities Act 1972.In section 1(2) the words from "and except " to " Northern Ireland) ".
1972 c. 70.The Local Government Act 1972.In section 269 the words from "in every Act "to " that date)" in the second place where those words occur.
1973 c. 14.The Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1973.In section 13(1) the words " and in any other enactment providing for the payment of costs out of central funds ".
1973 c. 27.The Bahamas Independence Act 1973.Section 4(1).
1973 c. 32.The National Health Reorganisation Act 1973.In section 55(2), the words from the beginning to " that date; and ".
1973 c. 37.The Water Act 1973.

In section 2(3) the words " and

any other enactment". Section 38(2).

1975 c. 21.The Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975.In Schedule 9, paragraph 6.
1975 c. 72.The Children Act 1975.Section 89.
1975 c. 76.The Local Land Charges Act 1975.In section 4 the words " and any other statutory provision ".
1976 c. 63.The Bail Act 1976.In Schedule 2, the amendment of the Interpretation Act 1889.
1977 c. 45.The Criminal Law Act 1977.In section 64(1) the words from " and, unless " to " this Act)".
1978 c. 12.The Medical Act 1978.In Schedule 5, in paragraph 48 paragraph (b) and the word " and " immediately preceding that paragraph.
1978 c. 15.The Solomon Islands Act 1978.Section 7(1).
1978 c. 20.The Tuvalu Act 1978.Section 4(1).

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