Acts of Parliament

An Act of Parliament (sometimes called a Statute) is a law that has been:

  • passed by both Houses of the Parliament of New South Wales (that is, the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council), and
  • assented to by the Governor on behalf of the Queen.

Private Acts are mainly 19th century Acts that passed through Parliament as Private Bills. They generally affect only a single individual or corporation and have a very limited application. A small number of titles with a wider and continuing application, are included on the In Force database. A list of all Private Acts is available in the Legislation tables section. All Acts as enacted from 1824 are included in the As Made database.

An Act commences life as a proposed Act (called a Bill), which is introduced and debated in both Houses of Parliament. A Bill is sometimes amended by a House of Parliament during its passage.

There are 2 kinds of Bills:

  • Government Bill is a Bill that is introduced into Parliament on behalf of the Government by a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary
  • Non-Government Bill is a Bill introduced into Parliament by a Member of Parliament in his or her capacity as a Member (and not on behalf of the Government, although sometimes on behalf of an opposition party)

Each House of Parliament has a special procedure (governed by its own standing or sessional rules and orders) for how a Bill should be introduced, debated, amended and passed. The website for the Parliament of NSW contains further information about these special procedures.

A Bill that is passed by both Houses of Parliament must be signed by the Governor (which is called giving assent or the Royal assent) to become an Act. When the Governor assents to an Act, it is said to have been enacted.

The commencement of a new Act will depend on the commencement section (usually section 2). It may be the date of assent, a later day specified in the commencement section or a day that is left to be appointed by the Governor by a future proclamation.

Last updated 12 March 2024 at 15:23