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General Information

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Organisation Reference Her Majesty's Stationary Office
Wildpro Referenced Responsibilities:- Conventions, Legislation, Codes of Conduct, Manuals --

The information below is taken directly from the website.


Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) is headed by the Controller and operates as part of the Cabinet Office under the ministerial control of the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

HMSO should not be confused with The Stationery Office Limited, the private sector company which acquired the trading functions of HMSO following privatisation in 1996.

Her Majesty the Queen appoints the Controller by Letters Patent as the Queen's Printer Acts of Parliament and to hold and exercise all rights and privileges in connection with copyrights' owned by the Crown. Section 92 of the Scotland Act 1998 established a separate office of Queen's Printer for Scotland (QPS). The Act requires that the Queen's Printer hold that post. The QPS acts on behalf of Her Majesty and exercises Her Majesty's rights and privileges in connection with Crown copyright in, among other matters, Acts of the Scottish Parliament and in any existing or future works made in the exercise of a function which is exercisable by any office holder in, or member of staff of, the Scottish Administration. The QPS was specified a non-ministerial office-holder and member of the staff of the Scottish Administration with effect from 1 July 1999.

HMSO manages and regulates the use and the licensing of the re-use of all information produced by government which is protected by Crown copyright. As part of the Government's commitment to widening access to government information, HMSO leads on providing a range of publishing and information services to its users and in delivering a class licensing system for the re-use of government information.

HMSO also manages the licensing of Parliamentary copyright under the terms of an agreement with the United Kingdom Parliament. The QPS has a similar arrangement with the Scottish Parliament. The Controller is currently finalising arrangements for management of copyright on behalf of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

HMSO oversees the printing and publication of all UK legislation and related official materials in traditional print formats and via the internet and advises government departments on all aspects of official publishing. HMSO also takes the lead in setting up the Government's Information Asset Register.

In addition HMSO controls expenditure relating to the Public Library Subsidy and the supply of official publications to UK Members of the European Parliament.


HMSO carries out the following functions directly or on behalf of the Queen's Printer or the Government Printer for Northern Ireland:

  • Queen's Printer responsibilities for Acts of Parliament, Church of England Measures and Statutory Instruments (including instruments made by the National Assembly for Wales).
  • Government Printer responsibilities for Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland.
  • Superintendence of the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes.
  • Editorial responsibilities for United Kingdom (including Scottish and Welsh) Statutory Publications.
  • Co-ordinating the publication of Command Papers and other publications within the House of Commons Numbered Series which are originated by Government Departments and other Crown bodies.
  • Control and administration of Crown copyright
  • Administration of Parliamentary copyright
  • Ensuring maintenance of a complete bibliographic record for Government publications.
  • Management of the Public Library Subsidy scheme.
  • Supply of official publications to UK Members of the European Parliament.
  • Co-ordination and implementation of the Information Asset Register and Inforoute.

HMSO Guidance Notes

Reproduction of United Kingdom, England, Wales and Northern Ireland Primary and Secondary Legislation

Legislation from official sources is reproducible freely under waiver of copyright. This guidance explains the process.


1. In the Government White Paper, The Future Management of Crown Copyright, it was announced that copyright would be waived for certain types of material which are Crown copyright protected.

2. The purpose of this guidance is to describe how the waiver will be applied in relation to Legislation of the United Kingdom Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly, and to Explanatory Notes to this legislation. It also covers certain subordinate legislation and Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England. For a more detailed description of the materials covered by this Guidance Note, see paragraph 8.

3. Crown copyright subsists specifically in Acts of Parliament and Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England in accordance with section 164 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 88). Crown copyright subsists in all other copyright works produced by officers or servants of the Crown in the course of their duties in accordance with section 163 of the CDPA 88.

4. Her Majesty the Queen is the first owner of Crown copyright and She has appointed the Controller to the office of Queen's Printer of Acts of Parliament to hold and exercise Crown copyright and other copyrights owned by Her Majesty as fully as if such copyrights were her own.

5. The Queen's Printer for Scotland will issue a Guidance Note on Acts of the Scottish Parliament, Explanatory Notes to Acts of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Statutory Instruments. This document will be available on the Scotland legislation web site at:


Alternatively, you will be able to obtain a hard copy on request from the Office of Queen's Printer for Scotland at the following address:

Office of the Queen's Printer for Scotland

St.Clements House
2-16 Colegate

Tel: 01603 621000
Fax: 01603 723000

e-mail: Queen'sPrinterforScotland@scotland.gov.uk

6. In this Guidance Note, the term Controller comprises the roles of Controller and Queen's Printer.

7. This Guidance Note supersedes those parts of HMSO's Dear Publisher and Dear Librarian letters which cover UK Acts of Parliament, Statutory Instruments, Rules and Orders. The policy set out in the Dear Publisher and Dear Librarian letters for other types of Crown and Parliamentary copyright material shall remain in force until replaced by further Guidance Notes.

Which material is covered?

8. The policy set out in this Guidance Note applies to the following Crown Copyright protected Material:

  • Acts of the United Kingdom Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly;
  • Statutory Instruments including those made by the National Assembly for Wales. For Scottish Statutory Instruments, see paragraph 5;
  • Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland;
  • Explanatory Notes to Acts of the United Kingdom Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly;
  • Measures of the General Synod of the Church of England.

For ease of reference, the term Material as used in this Guidance Note should be taken to include the categories of material listed above. It covers not only the text but also the typographical arrangement of the text which is also subject to Crown copyright protection.

What is meant by Waiver?

9. Waiver means that the Crown is not seeking to exercise its legal right to license formally, restrict usage or charge for the reproduction of the Material. However, Crown copyright is asserted to protect the Material against use in a misleading or derogatory manner. For further details, see paragraph 12.

What is permitted under the Waiver conditions?

10. Provided that the obligations set out at paragraph 12 are complied with, there are no restrictions on how the Material may be reproduced. By way of illustration, users may undertake any of the following activities in relation to the Material:

a) reproducing and publishing the Material in any medium;

b) making multiple copies of the Material for distribution and sale;

c) reproducing the Material in any medium for the purposes of news reporting;

d) reproducing the Material on free and subscription web sites which are accessible via the Internet;

e) establishing hypertext links to the official legislation web sites which feature the complete text of current legislation, with accompanying Explanatory Notes for Acts;

f) downloading the Material featured on the legislation web sites to screen and printer;

g) reproducing the Material on Intranet sites;

h) making single or multiple copies, by photocopying or any other means, for the purposes of research and private study;

i) the making of single or multiple copies by libraries (by photocopying or any other means) for the supply of copies to readers, subject to the overriding need for prescribed libraries to recoup their costs as set out in S.I. 1989 No. 1212;

j) copying by libraries for the purposes of supplementing or replenishing their stocks;

k) making copies for circulation throughout an organisation whether in the public or private sector;

l) reproduction within the context of seminar or training packs;

m) reproduction within student theses and dissertations;

n) translation into other languages;

o) reproduction of forms set out within Acts of Parliament, Statutory Instruments and Statutory Rules for use and/or publication as free-standing forms. An exception to these arrangements are Firearms forms which may only be reproduced as forms by individual police forces in the UK under licence from the Home Office.

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but it seeks to illustrate the majority of potential uses of this Material.

11. It should be noted that the value added pre-condition which was a feature of previous HMSO guidance on this Material has been removed.

Obligations of users of the material

12. The waiver of Crown copyright in relation to the Material as described in paragraphs 9 and 10 is conditional on the following terms being complied with:

a) all reproduction of the Material should be made from an Official version. This means either the authorised Queen's Printer or Government Printer for Northern Ireland published versions of the Material, or alternatively the text featured on the Official legislation web sites, see paragraph 10 (e);

b) the Material must be reproduced accurately. In the case of translations into other languages, a competent translator must be used where the translation is to be issued to the public;

c) care should be taken that the Material reproduced is from the current or up to date version, and that out of date Material is not presented as though it was current. Where out of date Material is being reproduced for the purposes of drawing comparisons with current Material or similar analysis, it should be made clear that the Material in question has been superseded, with appropriate cross references to the current Material;

d) the Material should not be used in a derogatory or misleading manner, nor should it be used for the purposes of advertising or promoting a particular product or service or for promoting particular personal interests or views;

e) the reproduced versions of Material should not be presented in a way which could imply it has Official status or that they are endorsed by any part of government;

f) the Royal Arms and all publisher imprints which are featured on the Official versions of the Material should be removed from any copies of the Material which are issued or made available to the public. This includes use of the Material on the Internet and on Intranet sites;

g) the Material is acknowledged appropriately as indicated in paragraph 13 below. For translations into other languages, the copyright acknowledgment should be given in both English and in the language in which the Material is being translated.

13. Where the reproduced versions of the Material is being published, circulated or issued to others - including Internet and Intranet use - one of the following Crown copyright acknowledgments should be featured in a prominent position:

(i) Where one specific item is being reproduced:

** [Title of Publication] is reproduced under the terms of Crown Copyright Policy Guidance issued by HMSO

(ii) Where a range of Material is being reproduced:

Crown Copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland

14. You may find the summary of permitted uses and the corresponding obligations set out in the annex to this Guidance Note helpful.

Sources of the Material

15. As stated in paragraph 12 (a), users are permitted to reproduce the Material as it appears either in the Official published version or by downloading it from the legislation web sites. Under this Guidance Note users are not authorised to copy the Material from other sources, such as commercial products published by law publishers, for example. Nor do users have an automatic right to reproduce the Material from the Government's Statute Law Database product or any other value added legislation product or service provided by Government. Such use would be the subject of separate and specific licensing arrangements.

Data Supply

16. The Material can be obtained in computer readable form from The Stationery Office Ltd, which publishes the Official versions of the Material under contract from the Controller. For details as to which Material is available in electronic form, the formats in which they can be supplied and the costs of providing the data in electronic form, please contact:

The Stationery Office Limited
Publications Centre
51 Nine Elms Lane

Telephone: 0800 600 5522

e-mail: network.sales@tso.co.uk

Telephone: 0800 600 5522

e-mail: network.sales@tso.co.uk

Controller HMSO
Queen's Printer

Dates Referenced August 2001
Contact Details Enquiries
St.Clements House
2-16 Colegate
Telephone: 01603 723020

Printed copies of Acts etc. are available from:

The Stationery Office Limited
Publications Centre
51 Nine Elms Lane
Telephone: 0800 600 5522
Fax: 0870 600 5533
e-mail: customer.services@theso.co.uk
online bookstore: clicktso.com
e-mail: esupport@clicktso.com

Website Address




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Specific References (Please note - website addresses change frequently and all references are dated accordingly. If hyperlinks are no longer active, please inform us)

Reference Section of Website Specific Website link
W65.w1 Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 - Explanatory Notes http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/en/2000en37.pdf

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