Terminology guide

A guide to the terms used on the platform.


Work, Expression, Point in Time

A Work is the logical concept of an Act, By-law, Regulations, Notice, or other piece of legislation. A Work may change over time through amendments and may be issued in multiple languages. A Work may ultimately be repealed.

An Expression is a particular version of a Work, in a specific language and at a particular Point in Time. A Work may have many expressions associated with it. Expressions are also referred to as Documents on the platform.

A Point in Time is all the Expressions of a Work on a particular date. There is usually only one Expression at a particular date, unless the Work is available in multiple languages. Often, a Point in Time is synonymous with an Expression. Each Point in Time will have all the previous amendments applied to it, and the oldest (or first) point in time will be the work as originally published. Points in Time generally have an event associated with them, most commonly publication or amendment.

Primary vs Subsidiary legislation

Primary legislation includes Acts and By-laws. They lay down the rights and obligations of government and citizens and usually focus on a certain subject area. Example: the Nursing Act.

Subsidiary legislation includes Regulations, Statutory Instruments and Orders and are made in terms of a Primary work. They often deal with the practical application of the rights and obligations laid down in a Primary work. Example: the Nursing Regulations (in terms of the Nursing Act).

Principal, Commencing, Amending, and Repealing works

A Principal work can be a new Act, a new By-law, or a new set of Regulations.

A Commencing work is normally a Notice that provides the Commencement date for a Principal work. (Many Principal works commence on publication or specify their own Commencement date.)

An Amending work is a Work that makes changes to a Principal work. Amending works are published when government needs to update or change an existing piece of legislation.

Amendments are the changes that are applied to a Work by an Amending work. They are instructions of substitutions, insertions, and deletions that must be made to the text of the Principal work being amended.

When a Work is Repealed, it is no longer in force. This is done by a Repealing work, and the Repeal date of the Principal work is the same as the Commencement date of the Repealing work. Repealing works are published when government needs to remove or replace an existing piece of legislation.

Assent, Publication, Commencement and Repeal dates

Assent: The date on which the Work is approved or signed by the relevant authority.

Publication: Usually the date of publication of the Gazette in which the Work is published.

Commencement: The date on which a work comes into force. If nothing is specified, it is often the publication date; to double-check, read the Interpretation Act of the country in which you’re working. Amendments to Principal works come into force on the Commencement date of the Amending work. The Repeal of a Work comes into force on the Commencement date of the Repealing work.

Repeal: The date from which a Work is no longer in force.





General Notice


Government Gazette


Government Notice


Local Area Notice


Legal Notice




Provincial Gazette


Provincial Notice


Statutory Instrument

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