by Laurie Anstis on March 26, 2013
Put yourself in the position of a litigant in person.
You think you haven’t been allowed enough holiday. You’ve heard that the Working Time Regulations have something to say about holidays, and you send in a claim to the employment tribunal.
Your employer hires lawyers to reply to your claim. In their defence, they talk about how regulations 13A and 15A of the Working Time Regulations 1998 apply to your case.
You don’t know anything about regulations 13A and 15A, but you are willing to have a go at looking them up. Maybe the employer’s lawyers are right. Maybe those regulations mean that your case isn’t as strong as you think it is.
So you go to the official online copy of the Working Time Regulations. But you won’t find regulations 13A and 15A there. That’s because regulations 13A and 15A were only added later as amendments and “UK Statutory Instruments are not carried in their revised form on this site.”
If you are particularly determined, you’ll find that regulation 13A was added by the Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2007 and that regulation 15A was added by the Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2001 – but how do you know that they haven’t been changed since those amendments. There is no way of knowing that the 2007 Regulations also made changes to regulation 15A.
It isn’t an easy task to keep track of all the various amendments. That’s one of the reasons why the legal publishers can charge so much for their services. But in an era where the number of litigants in person is expected to increase it would be good if a litigant in person could have ready access to up-to-date versions of the law they were supposed to be using.
[Note: the FAQs on the legislation.gov.uk site say that they aim to provide revised versions of primary legislation, but even that it isn’t necessarily totally up to date. They say “All legislation held on legislation.gov.uk in revised form has been updated with effects of legislation made up to 2002 (except for some effects of 2002 legislation that were not yet in force at the end of 2002). About half of all items of legislation are also up-to-date to the present.“ The FAQs do hold out the prospect of all primary legislation eventually being up-to-date, but only “selected secondary legislation”.]