Glossary

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A


Act

  1. [noun] - An act is a law passed by a legislature. It is synonymous with the term statute.
  2. [noun] - A broader definition extends to a proposed law (bill) that has passed at least one house.

Action Line

  1. [noun] - California - The text introducing a change in a section of a bill or statute. The action line identifies the affected document or part of a document and characterizes the change as an addition, amendment, or repeal. (See amending formula, instruction).

Amend

  1. [verb] - To change the wording in a law or in a proposed law (see bill)

Amending Bill

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - A bill proposing amendments to the law.

Amending Formula

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - The text introducing a change in a section of a bill or ordinance. The amending formula may identifu the affected document or part of a document and characterizes the change as an addition, amendment, or repeal. (See instruction, action line).

Amendment

  1. [noun] - An amendment is a document proposing, and upon adoption, making a set of changes to a bill.
  2. [noun] - An amendment is an individual change proposed or made to a bill or to the law itself. A bill section often contains an amendment. Amendments are sometimes characterized as simple insertion or deletion of text or, when "spelled out in full", as an entire replacement of text to the affected heading or section (this is required when amending California law). When used in this context, an amendment refers to any action that adds, amends, or repeals law.

Article

  1. [noun] - An article is a hierarchical level in a law. Often, articles are the lowest level in the document hierarchy above sections. In other jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, sections are themselves partitioned into articles.
  2. [noun] - Article is typically used in Europe and jurisdictions in the European tradition (such as Japan or South America) as a replacement for section in the English-speaking world. This is most visible in Canada where in English one refers to sections and, in French, the same structure is referred to as an article. The name appears most often in English-speaking jurisdictions in treaties.

Author

  1. [noun] - The author of a bill (or resolution) is typically the legislator who introduced the bill. Sometimes there are multiple co-authors. The author is often referred to as the sponsor.

B


Bicameral

  1. [adjective] - Consisting of two legislative or parliamentary cambers. (see unicameral).

Bill

  1. [noun] - A law proposed by the legislature. A bill is sometimes also called a legislative motion.
  2. [noun] - A more general usage extends the term to include resolutions along with formal bills (see measure).

C


Chapter

  1. [noun] - A level in the hierarchy of a law. A chapter will often contain subchapters or articles, although this is by no means a rule.
  2. [noun] - California - A statute is recorded as a chapter, with a chapter number, in the volume of statutes for a session year.
  3. [verb] - California - The process of adding a new statutes to the session statutes.
  4. [noun] - UK, New Zealand, Canada (federal) - Usage is similar to that in California.
  5. [noun] - Singapore, PNG - Acts are assigned a Chapter number only on Revision.
  6. [noun] - Hong Kong - Principal Ordinances are assigned a sequential chapter number upon signing and promulgation.

Chapter Out

  1. [verb] - California - When two or more chaptered bills amend the same section of law in the same session, amendments made by the bill enacted last prevail, or chapter out, the amendments made other chaptered bills.

Citation

  1. [noun] - A reference to a law or other legal authority.
  2. [noun] - Hong Kong - The short title given to an ordinance. Usage derives from the name with which the ordinance is to be cited. (see short title)

Classification

  1. [noun] - U.S. Federal - The process of arranging the sections of a new statute (or act) into the hierarchical categorization in non-positive titles of the U.S. Code.

Clause

1 [noun] - Hong Kong - A section in a bill is known as a clause and may be subdivided into subclauses. Upon enactment, the bill becomes an ordinance and the clauses become sections. In subsidiary legislation, sections may also become rules, regulations, orders, articles, or directions. (see section)

Clean Bill

  1. [noun] - U.S. Federal - A bill that is reintroduced by the chairman of a committee after all the committee amendments have been assembled together. This is done to expedite chamber action by avoiding the need for the floor to consider each committee amendment.

Code

  1. [noun] - A code is a collection of law, organized by subject. Sometimes codes themselves are enacted as legislation. In the case of the U.S. Code, it is further subdivided into positive and non-positive titles, the positive titles were individually enacted as law while the non-positive titles are a categorization hierarchy.

Codification

  1. [verb] - Codification is the process of building codes from statutes. It is a general term that can (in the case of the U.S. federal government), encompass both classification of statutes into non-positive titles and the creation of positive law titles by enacting new law which consolidating and restating existing statutes which are then repealed.

Commencement Date

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - The date upon which an ordinance or a provision in an ordinance goes into operation (see operation)

Committee Stage Amendment (C.S.A.)

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - Amending motion proposing amendment to a bill. (see amendment)

Compilation

  1. [verb] - Compilation is the process of applying (or executing) amendments to a code.

Concurrent Resolution

  1. [noun] - U.S. Federal - A concurrent resolution is a resolution passed by both houses of Congress, but that is not presented to the President and does not have the force of law.
  2. [noun] - California - A concurrent resolution is a resolution passed by both houses of the Legislature, but is not presented to the Governor. These resolutions usually involve the business of the Legislature.

Consequential Amendment

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - An amendment that is made necessary by the primary provisions or amendments in a bill. These amendments are usually amendments necessary to ensure consistency in existing legislation with the new legislation being added by the legislation containing the consequential amendments.

Consolidation

  1. [noun] - Consolidation integrates (in a single non legally-binding text) the provisions of the original instrument together with all subsequent amendments to it. (See reprint)

Cross-Heading

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong, New Zealand - A heading separator that divides or groups sections, but with less formality than level headings. Cross-headings are typically not numbered. (See levelHeading) D * * * * *

Digest

  1. [noun] - California - An informative summary of a bill prepared by the legislative counsel.

Draft

  1. [noun] - California - A bill that has been prepared by the legislative counsel, but which is not yet introduced.

Division

  1. [noun] - A level in the hierarchy of a law. A division will often contain subdivisions or other lower levels.

Double Join

  1. [verb] - California - Add provisions to a bill to prevent chaptering out the provisions of another bill.

E


Editorial Note

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong, others - Note provided in a publication of the law that is not considered to be official text.

Effective

1 [adjective] - A act becomes effective once it is signed and promulgated. A distinction is made between when the act becomes effective and when it goes into operation. These two dates are usually but not always the same. (see effective date, commencement date)

Enacting Clause

  1. [noun] - A short phrase that introduces the main provisions of a law enacted by a legislature. (see Enacting Formula)

Enacting Formula

  1. [noun] - A short phrase that introduces the main provisions of a law enacted by a legislature. (see Enacting Clause)

Enactment

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - A bill once enacted becomes an enactment. Also known as a statute or an ordinance (see act, ordinance)

Enactment Date

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong, others - The date when the ordinance or act was signed and promulgated to become effective. (see commencement date)

Engrossing Amendments

  1. [verb] - Kansas - The incorporation of amendments to a bill to produce the engrossed bill.

Engrossed Bill

  1. [noun] - The official copy of a bill (or other measure), with all its amendments incorporated, passed and certified by the originating chamber in the legislature.

Enrolled Bill

  1. [noun] - The final copy of a bill or joint resolution which has passed both chambers in identical form. It is printed on parchment paper, signed by appropriate House and Senate officials, and submitted to the president or governor for signature.

Enumeration

  1. [noun] - U.S. Federal - Numeric identification for hierarchical level or section in a bill or a law. (see number)

Execute Amendment

  1. [verb] - U.S. Federal - Applying an amendment to the affected law.

Expiry Date

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - The date after which the provisions in a bill are no longer enforceable.

Explanatory Memorandum/Note

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - Non-official summary of a bill. Called a Memorandum for bills and Note for secondary legislation. (see digest)

F


G


Gazette

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong, others - Official government publication announcing legislation

H


Heading -

  1. [noun] - Title for a level or section.

Headnote -

  1. [noun] - Title typically only for a section. Stems from the tradition of titles for sections being placed in marginal notes or sidenotes.

I


Instruction

  1. [noun] - California - Description of a change proposed to a bill or resolution. Typically expressed in terms of striking or inserting text positioned using page and line numbers.
  2. [noun] - more broadly this term is often used (usually in the plural) for requests received from a drafting client (or instructing officer) to a drafter for a new draft or changes to an existing draft.

Instrument

1 [noun] - A general term for legislation, treaties, or other legal document.

Italic Text -

  1. [noun] - California - Text being inserted into a bill or resolution. The term derives from the presentation style for inserted text. Also referred to by the abbreviation ital.

Item

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - A statement in legislation, most often in a schedule.

J


Joint Resolution -

  1. [noun] - U.S. Federal - A joint resolution is a legislative measure that requires approval by the Senate and the House and is presented to the President for his/her approval or disapproval, in exactly the same case as a bill. Whereas bills are general used for matters relating to the United States Code, joint resolutions are used to make small appropriations, for continuing resolutions extending appropriation levels adopted in a prior fiscal year, creating temporary commissions, creating temporary exceptions to the law, declaring war, or taking possession of territory.
  2. [noun] - California - A resolution expressing an opinion about an issue pertaining to the federal government; forwarded to congress for its information. Requires the approval of both Assembly and Senate but does not require signature of the Governor to take effect.

Journal

  1. [noun] - Official chronological record of the proceedings of a legislative chamber.

Judgment (or Judgement)

  1. [noun] - The final finding, statement, or ruling, based on a considered weighing of evidence. The spelling is "judgment" in the United States, United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. In Canada, "judgment" is the preferred spelling but both are acceptable. In Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, both are acceptable, but "judgement" is preferred. (see spelling note)

K


L


Level Heading

  1. [noun] - California, Hong Kong, US, others - The heading associated with a hierarchical level in a bill or a code. (See cross-heading)

Long Title

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong, others - A lengthy descriptive title that sets out the purpose of a bill and describe and/or describes any amendments being made. (see title)   Lower House

  2. [noun] - The Assembly.

M


Measure

  1. [noun] - General term for bills and resolutions.

Marginal note

  1. [noun] - Generally, a reference to annotations in the margin of an Act or Code. Historically, many section titles were recorded as marginal notes (this is still the predominant display in the US Code). See also sidenote.

Modification

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - A modification is an amendment that only applies within the context of the document which makes the modification. This is primarily used in subsidiary legislation to clarify provisions in the delegating principal legislation. (see subsidiary legislation)

N


Nomenclature

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - The terminology used to refer to items in legislation.

Non-Binding Resolution

  1. [noun] - A non-binding resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body that cannot progress into a law.

Non-Positive Titles

  1. [noun] - U.S. Federal - Titles in the U.S. Code which classify the Statutes at Large. Non-positive law titles are prima facie evidence of the law.

Number

  1. [noun] - Numeric identification for hierarchical level or section in a bill or a law. (see enumeration)

O


Operation

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - When the laws in an ordinance are applicable, then they are in operation.

Ordinance

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - An enacted bill becomes an ordinance (typically a statute at the city government level) (see act, enactment)

P


Paragraph

  1. [noun] - A level in the hierarchy of a law that appears below the section (and, if it exists) subsection level. Typically a subsection will be a whole sentence but a paragraph will be a fragment of a sentence, often part of an enumerated list.

Part

  1. [noun] - A level in the hierarchy of a law. A part will often contain subparts or other lower levels. Typically Parts appear within Chapters.

Paste-up

  1. [noun] - An unofficial consolidation of legislation prepared by taking a code, an Act as originally enacted, or an official printed copy (reprint) and applying each piece of amending legislation that amends it, cutting out the new provisions and pasting them on to the paste-up to provide a complete paper version of the legislation. Note that a paste-up can also be electronic where the cutting and pasting is virtual rather than actual.

  2. [verb] - The act of creating a paste-up.

Positive Law

  1. [noun] - Positive law is generally used to describe man-made laws which bestow specific privileges upon, or remove them from, an individual or group.

Positive Law Titles -

  1. [noun] - U.S. Federal - Positive Law Titles are titles in the U.S. code that have been enacted as law. Positive law titles constitute legal evidence of the law in all Federal and State courts.

Principal Act

  1. [noun] - In jurisdictions without codification, a Principal Act is an Act which is the target of an amending Act.

Private Law

  1. [noun] - A private law is a bill that has been enacted into law, but has restricted applicability, often addressing immigration and naturalization issues affecting individuals.

Preface

  1. [noun] - Akoma Ntoso - A preface is the introductory text that precedes the preamble in a measure. Typically the text in the preface is not an official part of the text of the measure and is removed upon passage.

Preliminary Provisions

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - Conditions specified before the primary sections of a bill or an ordinance.

Prima Facie

  1. [adjective] - legally sufficient in law to establish a case or fact, unless disproved. Compiled representations of the law not deemed authentic are usually considered to be prima facie (e.g. Non-positive titles of the U.S. Code, Hong Kong compiled ordinances).

Principal Bill

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - A bill that proposes law. A principal bill becomes an ordinance upon enactment.

Provision

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - Any unit within a bill or an ordinance. This can be a section, a chapter, a heading, or even a number. In Hong Kong, this term is applied very generally.

Public Law

  1. [noun] - A public law is a bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.

Q


Quoted Text, Quoted Structure

  1. [noun] - Akoma Ntoso - Quoted text or quoted structure is a text extraction from a document that is shown in another document. Most often this is done when adding or amending the text in the source document. In some jurisdictions, the text (or structure) that is being quoted is shown with surrounding quote marks. Quoted text is a simple text string while quoted structure is more complex structures.

R


Reading

  1. [verb] - A reading of a bill is a debate on the bill held before the general body of a legislature.

Redlining

  1. [noun] - Redlining is a form of recording changes that roughly correlates with change tracking in a word processor. Redlining, in a legislative context,

Repeal

  1. [verb] - To remove or reverse a law.

Reprint

  1. [verb] - Westminster tradition - An official consolidation in jurisdictions where codification is uncommon.

Resolution

  1. [noun] - A resolution is a motion (or measure) proposed and/or adopted by a legislative body regarding matters not usually covered by laws. Declarations of war are usually resolutions. The U.S. Declaration of Independence is a resolution.
  2. [noun] - Hong Kong - A bill proposed by the legislature to amend subsidiary legislation.

Revision

  1. [noun] - A Revision is a process of consolidating, simplifying and reorganizing a body of law, typically short of codification and applying only to one or two Acts at a time. The result is typically has legal effect (unlike consolidations).

Roman

  1. [noun] - California - Text that is set out in "roman" refers to normal text that is not being inserted or stricken in a document.

S


Schedule

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong, U.S. Federal - A supplemental statement of details, often in classified or tabular form, appended to a document. In the U.S. Code, schedules can appear as appended to a section.

Section

  1. [noun] - A textual portion of a law or proposed law. In Codes, a section is sometimes referred to as a code section. In Bills, a section is sometimes referred to as a bill section. In California, the text of these sections are set forth in their entirety in bills and proposed to be amended, repealed, or added. Sections are sometimes partitioned into subsections or paragraphs. Some jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, partition sections into articles.

Sessional Act

  1. [noun] - An Act as originally enacted by the legislature without amendments applied.

Short Title

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - The title given to an ordinance wich which it is to be cited (see citation

Sidenote

  1. [noun] - Generally, a reference to annotations in the margin of an Act or Code. Typically, this term is restricted to marginal notes that record section or subsection titles. See also marginal note.

Slip Law

  1. [noun] - U.S. Federal - A slip law is an act of Congress that is either a public or a private law.

Spent

  1. [noun] - Once a provision in an ordinance has been applied and gone into operation, the provision is said to be spent.

Sponsor

  1. [noun] - A sponsor is the legislator that introduced a bill. Sometimes, a bill also has co-sponsors. The terms sponsor and author are used synonymously

Statute

  1. [noun] - A statute is a bill that has been enacted into law.

Statutes At Large

  1. [noun] - U.S. Federal - The collection of laws and concurrent resolutions passed by Congress and organized into volumes by legislative sessions. They are a compilation of all the slip laws at the end of a Congressional session.

Statute Book

  1. [noun] - Hong Kong - The collection of laws passed by the Legislative Council and signed by the Chief Executive. The Statute Book is organized into annual volumes.

Subdivision

  1. [noun] - A partitioning of a division.
  2. [noun] - California - A subsection in the California Constitution.

Subsection

  1. [noun] - A partitioning of a section. Subsections are sometimes synonymous with a subparagraph.

  2. [noun] - Subsections are optional hierarchical constructs that are the direct children of sections. They typically contain a whole sentence and are enumerated using Arabic numeral enumerators in parentheses (except in the US where lower Alphabetic enumerators in parentheses are used).

Subsidiary Legislation

  1. [noun] - Westminster tradition - orders, prclamations, rules, regulations, notifications and similar made under the authority of an Act having legislative effect. These are also referred to as Statutory Instruments, Subordinate legislation, or Secondary legislation. Typically called regulations in the U.S.

T


Title

  1. [noun] - A title is the heading or name of a document. Some legislative documents have multiple titles - a long title, a short title, and a common title. (see short title, long title)
  2. [noun] - A hierarchical level in a document. A title may be numbered, have a heading, and contains lower levels and sections.
  3. [noun] - U.S. Federal - A title is a volume in the U.S. Code. Positive Titles are themselves enacted statutes.

U


Unicameral

  1. [adjective] - Consisting of one legislative or parliamentary camber. In the United States, only Nebraska is unicameral. (see bicameral)

Ultra Vires

  1. [adj.] - Beyond the power. An act which is in excess of the authority conferred by law, and therefore invalid.

Upper House -

  1. [noun] - The Senate.

V


W


X


Y


Z