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Report: The use of vellum for recording Acts of Parliament

23 October 2015

At its meeting on 12 October, the Committee considered a proposal from the Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords that Parliament should no longer print the official copies of Acts of Parliament on vellum. Record copies of Acts would instead be printed on high quality archive paper. As now, one copy would continue to be stored in the Parliamentary Archives and the other sent to The National Archives.

The Committee was convinced by the arguments put to it by the Chairman of Committees and has therefore agreed this short report recommending to the House of Commons that, in future, high quality archive paper should be used and not vellum to record Acts of Parliament. The arguments put to the Committee were that:

  • The cost of printing on vellum is extremely high requiring a highly specialised form of printing;
  • The use of high quality archival paper would maintain durability and print quality of these records. This is demonstrated by their successful use since 1956 for Private Acts, their proven 250 years life expectancy and probable 500 year life expectancy;
  • The National Archives has advised that they do not require a vellum copy.

In order for the change to take effect there will need to be agreement by the House of Commons. The House of Lords agreed the change in 1999. Private Acts have been printed on archive paper since 1956.   

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