Box 9: The Statute Law Database
The Statute Law Database, created by the Department of Constitutional Affairs (now the Ministry
of Justice), is an official and authoritative online database of revised UK primary legislation and
is available free of charge to the public. The database can be found at: www.statutelaw.gov.uk
aunched in late December 2006, it contributes to the new Ministry of Justice's aims of
improving access to justice.
In this case, the government department in charge reached the decision that the social value that
accrued from the public being readily able to find out the laws under which they are governed
outweighed the possible direct revenue generation from selling access.
Through strong departmental leadership and an innovative approach, which considered the long-
term public benefit, the Department of Constitutional Affairs, now the Ministry of Justice, both
created a public asset and brought acclaim for the department. It acted responsively to public
demand, and the decision was applauded by information and law campaigners. The decision was
described as a 'sea-change' in the way government information is made available to the public.
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