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The EnAct System
The EnAct Legislation system puts Tasmania at the forefront of legislative drafting and maintenance technology. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) developed the enabling technology, the TeraText ™ Database System.
EnAct has attracted a great deal of interest both interstate and overseas. Key features of the system include:
- automatic consolidation of amendment legislation on commencement;
- true 'point-in-time' searching of consolidated legislation (searches are carried out on the legislation database for legislation relevant at a specified time point);
- innovative automated tools for drafting amendment legislation;
- advanced searching and browsing capabilities with all cross-references and amendment history information stored as electronic hyperlinks;
- quality control points built into the legislation production process;
- business process tracking for legislation drafting tasks; and,
- multiple format delivery for the publication of legislation allowing paper based products, CD ROM products and HTML publishing via the Internet .
Automatic Consolidation of Legislation
It is the automatic consolidation feature that provides perhaps the most significant benefits for site users. EnAct is the first system in the world to provide this kind of functionality.
At the core of the system is an SGML database. All legislation in the database is broken up into a number of fragments (ie. one fragment per Section or Schedule). Each fragment contains the dates for which that piece of legislation is in force. When legislation is amended, the system automatically builds new versions of fragments that are affected by amendments and keeps the old ones for historical reference. Joining together the fragments relevant at a particular point-in-time generates consolidations.
The database was loaded with legislation consolidated to 1 February 1997. From that date onwards a complete history of Tasmanian principal legislation is maintained in the system.
Point-in-Time Access to Consolidated Legislation
So what does 'point-in-time' access really mean?
Traditionally, many legislation users including lawyers, business people, Members of Parliament and government employees have prepared their own unofficial paste-ups of consolidated Acts in order to track the changes to the law. This is a difficult and labour intensive task involving the manual search of indexes and tracking of amending legislation, followed by the physical assembly of text representing the current state of the law. The likelihood of error increases each time an amendment is applied, while the readability of the document is significantly reduced.
When exploring the EnAct database, legislation searches are conducted at today's date or at a date you specify. This allows topics of interest to be researched through time to see how the law has changed.
As the legislation history builds, it will allow the accurate state of the law to be determined at a specific date, even if the relevant legislation has been amended several times since. This is very difficult to achieve using a manual system.
Drafting Amendment Legislation
Traditional drafting techniques required legislation drafters to work from manually pasted-up copies of the legislation in conjunction with manual indexes. This approach led to the possibility of legislation changes being overlooked.
The new processes enable amendments to be drafted by marking up an electronic version of a consolidated Act and provide access to electronic searching facilities to aid in the preparation of consequential amendments.
underline format is used to indicate inserted text,
while strikethrough format indicates an omit operation.
Amendment legislation is automatically generated by the system from the mark-up of the Principal Act(s). This offers the following benefits:
- drafters can work from consolidated legislation to prepare amendments;
- a version of the Principal Act can be printed showing how it will be affected by amending legislation (the marked up changes can be read in conjunction with the amending legislation); and
- standardisation of wordings for amendment legislation improves overall readability.
Last updated Friday, September 08, 2017 14:10 PM