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Law - Legal research guide: Legislation: 4. Acts in force

Find out about acts, delegated legislation, bills, parliamentary documents and extrinsic materials for Australian jurisdictions

Commencement information

These resources are useful if you already know the sessional details of the Act. (Year & Number)

Is this Act in force? - How to find out

Once passed by both houses, a Bill is presented to the Governor or Governor-General for assent on behalf of the Queen. Once a Bill has received Royal Assent (its Assent date), it becomes an Act of Parliament and is assigned an Act number. The Act does not become a part of the law until it is proclaimed to be operational or, in other words is deemed to be In-force. This is sometimes referred to as the Commencement date of the act.

For example, the Stamp Amendment Act 2003 (WA), though assented to on the 20th March 2003 did not come into operation until 1 July 2003.  This amending Act inserts many new provisions into the Stamp Act 1921 (WA), some of which affect the day to day business of vehicle dealers and others, so it is important to know the commencement date of an amending Act.

Acts usually come into force on either Royal Assent, Proclamation, or on a specific date. 

  • Proclamations are made in the Government Gazette for the State or Commonwealth
  • Commencement information is usually specified in section 2 of the Act

Individual provisions may come become operational at a date other than the rest of the act. Check section 2 of the Act for details.

WA online compilations of Acts - commencement information

If you don't have the sessional details for an act or an amending act and want to know if the provisions have come into operation, you can locate commencement dates in the online compilation for the amended act.

For example:

You know that the Wills Amendment Act 2007 (WA) will amend the Stamp Act 1921 (WA) but don't know if it is operational. To find out:

    1. Go to State Law Publisher and locate the Stamp Act 1921 under Acts > In Force

    2. Open the online compilation (the most up-to-date version) of the Stamp Act and browse down to the Compilation Table at the end of the act, under Notes

    3. Browse through the Compilation Table, which is a chronological list of amendments, until you locate the entry for the Wills Amendment Act 2007. You can see that the provisions of this amending act, which affect the Stamp Act, commenced on 1 Jul 2008

      Legislation Compilation Table - screenshot via State Law Publisher