The oldest surviving judicial code was that of King Ur-Nammu during the third dynasty of Ur, Iraq, c. 2250BC.
The oldest English statute in the Statute Book is a section of the Statute of Marlborough of 18 Nov 1267, re-entitled in 1948 `The Distress Act 1267' and most recently cited in the High Court in 1986. Some statutes enacted by Henry II (died 1189) and earlier kings are even more durable, as they have been assimilated into the Common Law.
Longest in the UK The weightiest piece of legislation ever written is the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 of more than 1000 pages and weighing 2.5kg 5∞lb. Lord Houghton of Sowerby appealed to fellow peers in November 1987 `not to walk about with it' for fear of ruptures.
Shortest The shortest statute is the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918, which runs to 27 operative words: `A woman shall not be disqualified by sex or marriage from being elected to or sitting or voting as a Member of the Commons House of Parliament.' Section 2 contains a further 14 words giving the short title.
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