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A new approach to describing how amendments are made in legislation

New ways to describe amendments have been approved for use in legislation that sets out amendments to be made to other legislation. The changes make amendments easier to follow, and more efficient to draft and to apply.

The new terminology was introduced gradually from 1 January 2012. Bills before the House at this date continued to use the old terminology.

The new approach:

  • is used consistently irrespective of its location—previously the main body of Bills and Legislative Instruments, schedules within Bills and Legislative Instruments, and Supplementary Order Papers all used different terminology to describe amendments
  • uses more direct language
  • generally uses fewer words.
Summary of the changes

Amendments are given in the form of a command instead of a description:

Old approachNew approach
Section 41 is repealed. Repeal section 41.

Locator references are cited from the largest to the smallest:

Old approachNew approach
The item relating to dogs in Part 3 of Schedule 2 is amended by inserting "or rabbits" after "cats". In Schedule 2, Part 3, item relating to dogs, after "cats", insert "or rabbits".

"Delete" is used, instead of "omit":

Old approachNew approach
Section 17(2) is amended by omitting "or dog". In section 17(2), delete "or dog".

"Repeal" (or "revoke" in Legislative Instruments) is used for all text that isn't in quotation marks:

Old approachNew approach
The item relating to Austria in Schedule 2 is omitted. In Schedule 2, repeal the item relating to Austria.

"Replace" is used, instead of "Substitute", without stating that the text to be replaced is repealed or revoked:

Old approachNew approach
Section 13 is repealed and the following section substituted: Replace section 13 with:

Previously, "add" meant to insert at the end of a provision, while "insert" meant to insert at any other location. Now only "insert" is used, and the location is specified:

Old approachNew approach
Section 12 is amended by adding the following subsection: After section 12(5), insert:

"The following" is not used:

Old approachNew approach
The following regulation is inserted after regulation 22: After regulation 22, insert:

There is a new style for the principal Act (or principal Legislative Instrument) clause, where the relationship with the principal Act (or Legislative Instrument) is set out:

Old approachNew approach
Principal Act amended
This Act amends the XYZ Act 2010.
Principal Act
This Act amends the XYZ Act 2010 (the principal Act).

Where a provision amends a single provision, the heading of the amending provision is more explicit:

Old approachNew approach
Written caution to person holding interest in motor vehicle Section 95 amended (Written caution to person holding interest in motor vehicle)

Supplementary Order Papers no longer introduce amendments with the word "To":

Old approachNew approach
Clause 4
To omit this clause (lines 7 to 11 on page 3).
Clause 4
Delete clause 4 (lines 7 to 11 on page 3).
Example of the new approach applied

View an earlier amendment Act as it would look with the new approach applied (PDF 80KB—mockup of the Companies Amendment Act (No 2) 2006)

View the same amendment Act as published (PDF 244KB)

Note that there is no intention to apply the new terminology retrospectively. It is being applied gradually to new legislation introduced or made from 1 January 2012 onwards.

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