History of the Falkland Islands Law Revision

Law revision projects in the Falkland Islands appear to have first started when the post of Law Commissioner was created under section 2 of the New Edition of the Ordinances Ordinance 1911.  Legislation providing for the appointment of a Law Commissioner has remained on the statute book since then, in various forms, and remains part of our law today.

Law revision Ordinances have resulted in three complete sets of laws; in 1915, 1950 and 1993.  The 1993 version was updated until 2005, when the Law Commissioner retired.  The laws of the Falkland Islands continued to move on but the reference volumes did not.  In 2006 the laws of the Falkland Islands were put onto CD Rom which was updated regularly but concerns around adequacy of data content meant it was not a definitive point of reference.  The only true point of reference for the reliable record of the law remained through reference to the official Falkland Islands' Gazette.

The First Revision

The first Revised Edition of the Laws of the Falkland Islands was published in 1915.  It contained the laws up to 31 December 1913 and was compiled by Frederic George Thomas CMG, Barrister of Inner Temple and produced under the authority of the New Edition of the Ordinances Ordinance 1911.  A handwritten note in the Governor's copy of this volume records that it was approved by the Legislative Council at a meeting on 29 November 1915.

The single volume of 463 pages also included the laws of the Falkland Islands dependencies - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the British Antarctic territories.  During 1853 and 1913 the Falkland Islands and dependencies passed only a small number of ordinances annually (reaching a peak of 15 ordinances in 1889).

The Second Revision

The second Revised Edition of the Laws of the Falkland Islands was published in 1951.  This edition featured two volumes, volume I comprising 728 pages of primary legislation and volume II comprising 372 pages of secondary legislation.  This edition was prepared by R.W.S Winter, a solicitor, and Sir Henry Webb Kt, KC.  In these volumes the law of the Falkland Islands was set out as at 31 December 1950.

The Third Revision

More than 60 years passed before the next revised laws reference version was commissioned.  Dr Alan Milner and the team at Law Reports International, Oxford, produced a seven volume loose leaf reference set in 1993 and the set was kept partially up to date until 2005.  The volumes went further than previous works as it sought to include "...every enactment applicable to the Islands - local primary and secondary legislation, UK enactments applicable by their own terms, by Orders in Council, or by direct or indirect adoption, and a small number of additional International Treaty Obligations".  The seven volume set was divided into 74 titles presenting the laws in relation to their subject matter.  Updates for certain titles were issued in 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005.

The Fourth Revision

In late 2006 the laws were captured on a CD Rom by Blackhall Publishing Ltd which was intended to take over from the 1993 volumes as the definitive reference source.  However instructions given for its creation were not complete; omitting any update to applicable UK laws.  So, whilst useful, the disk had limited use in terms of providing a reference to all laws of the Falkland Islands.