Statute (Act) of the Northern Ireland Assembly [from Electronic source using APA 5th ed.]


Because the situation regarding legal references is complex, and only US law is covered in the APA Manual, the following guidance is based on the system recommended by the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies. It should not be followed by any student submitting work to the Law Department of Portsmouth Business School, and students working in other departments should consult their lecturers.

The text of electronic and print versions will be identical, therefore there is no need to give details of the origin of the source you have used.

When using legislation in your work you must be clear as to whether or not you are dealing with the law as it was passed by Parliament initially, or the law as in force currently. 

When looking at legislation online, you should rely on trusted sources such as The Office of Public Sector Information or the British and Irish Legal Information Institute. However, these sites give the law as it was passed and do not reflect repeals and amendments. Even the Statute Law Database is currently only up to date as far as 2002 with its amendments. It is better to use a database such as Lexis Library or Westlaw as you will find that the text you are looking at is consolidated and includes amendments and repeals to within the last month. This means you will be looking at the law as in force.

Standard Form

Northern Ireland Statutes are not included in reference lists or bibliographies at all. However, on the first mention of an act a full citation is given stating:

Short title as printed on cover of the act (including capitalisation as shown but with no italicization) Date

No comma should appear between the word Act and the date.

Thereafter the short title or an accepted /recognised abbreviation of it can be used without the date if there is no cause for confusion.


In the case of Northern Ireland Statutes the words Northern Ireland are normally included in brackets in the short title:

Licensing Act (Northern Ireland) 1971

Citation in Text

When citing in text you need to pinpoint your specific reference within the act. Rather than use page numbers it is often easier to use the internal numbering of the act itself.

... as stated in Licensing Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 S1.

If you want to refer to several sections at the same time then, for example, write

The Betting and Lotteries Act (Northern Ireland) 1957 S 1and 2 states ...

In case of amended legislation make the exact source quite clear, for example

The Railways Act (Northern Ireland) 1934 as amended by the Railway Safety Act (northern Ireland) 2002 would permit ...


  • Legislation applying to the whole of the UK can be assumed to apply in its entirety to Northern Ireland unless this is made explicit within the Act. Some Acts apply primarily or exclusively to Northern Ireland.
  • Orders in Council are Statutory Instruments applying exclusively to Northern Ireland enacted under the Northern Ireland Act 1974. They are primary rather than secondary legislation.