Statute Law Database goes public

By Nick Holmes on December 20, 2006
Filed under Legislation

The Statute Law Database was finally released to the public today. See what you think. Background and issues are covered in my recent article.

Is the SLD “open”? No:

The content is available free of charge to be viewed on screen, copied, printed out for private study and research purposes or for internal circulation within an organisation. To enquire about any other re-use of the data, including in commercial information products and services, please apply for a Click-Use Licence.

This is misleading as the SLD in fact falls outside the scope of the Click-Use Licence, being a “value added” service, so you need to apply for a Value Added Licence.

What are the terms for commercial re-use likely to be? The DCA is still hatching a plan. Indeed, I am being consulted on the issue and will report back in due course. If any aspirant re-users have a view, please comment here or contact me.


Thanks for letting me know. I’ve just now used it to write up the page:

What makes the system useless is it doesn’t host good URLs to the Acts, and interfaces everything through an awful search engine. I’m sure someone will spot how to skin it soon.

by Julian Todd on 20 December 2006 at 4:10 pm. #

Well, you know my view. It should have the same license which Acts of Parliament have – that you can reproduce it, as long as you don’t alter it and misrepresent the law with it.

by Francis Irving on 20 December 2006 at 4:39 pm. #

What about linking to specific bits of the site. Such as a particular act eg the Housing Act 2004. Is this allowed? I have a normal click-use license.

by Tessa Shepperson on 21 December 2006 at 12:19 am. #

I cannot see any possible grounds for objecting to deep links in. Indeed I would hope this would be encouraged. Incidentally, note that URLs contain a lot of unnecessary guff. All you need is the activeTextDocId, ie in the case of Housing Act 2004
Why they could not see their way to implementing addressing by citation I do not know (eg type=UKAct&year=2004&number=34).

by nickholmes on 21 December 2006 at 12:47 pm. #

They must have recently decided that the SLD is not “value added” after all. I applied for a Value Added licence but got this surprisingly enlightened reply: “I can confirm that you may re-use this material, however, you do not need a Value-Added Licence, the Click-Use Licence you need is the PSI Licence, and is the licence which covers the re-use of core government material. The Licence is free of charge, lasts for 5 years and allows you to re-use as much core material as you want during that time. The Core Licence can be taken out online via HMSOnline at

by Jonathan on 22 December 2006 at 10:01 am. #

In correspondence with OPSI yesterday I got this:

“Needless to say, there has been a little last minute confusion over the wording of copyright statements (the SPO Crown copyright statement is ambiguous) and synchronising our timings.

We are updating our guidance (guidance note on republishing legislation and our list of example Value Added Materials – SLD content will be removed from this list)…

To clarify, my understanding is that content from the SLD will be re-usable under the global, free PSI licence – if you emailed HMSO Licensing today with a formal query, that’s what we’d say”

This seems too good to be true. So we will wait and see how the SLD copyright notice/OPSI guidance changes

by nickholmes on 22 December 2006 at 11:23 am. #