What is a Uniform Act?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A uniform act is a law which is adopted by multiple jurisdictions. While the jurisdictions differ, the laws across the jurisdictions are consistent. Having laws which are uniform in nature can be beneficial for a broad assortment of reasons and many nations use uniform acts as a way of providing different jurisdictions with laws which they can adopt, should they so choose, to regulate certain activities and practices in a way which will be uniform across jurisdictions. Such legislation often includes “Uniform” in the title to alert people to the fact that it is a uniform act.

Uniform acts, involving multiple jurisdictions, can be applied to issues such as adoption.
Uniform acts, involving multiple jurisdictions, can be applied to issues such as adoption.

In the United States, such legislation is drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, an organization which includes highly qualified and experienced consultants such as lawyers and judges. Other nations have similar organizations. When the need for a uniform act is identified, such organizations work to draft a proposed law which will address the needs of multiple jurisdictions and jurisdictions are presented with the law and can decide whether or not they wish to adopt it.

Some examples of uniform acts, also known as uniform statutes, include the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, Uniform Commercial Code, and Uniform Partnership Act in the United States, along with the Child Status Act, Mental Health Act, and Human Tissue Donation Act in Canada. Around the world, uniform acts provide consistent guidance for jurisdictions which would like to regulate activities in a uniform fashion. Such laws facilitate doing business across jurisdictions along with other activities.

Uniform acts can be developed to address issues such as transfers of property, organ and tissue donation, incorporation, penal codes, adoption, controlled substances, securities, rules of evidence, and so forth. In nations where individual jurisdictions are allowed a high degree of autonomy and the national government cannot pass laws which will be effective in all jurisdictions, uniform acts provide a way of creating standardized statutes which will apply to all in a way which will not infringe upon the rights of individual jurisdictions.

The development of a uniform act requires a great deal of research and consultation. Members of the organization which drafts such laws may call in outside experts for advice and assistance with specific topics. For example, when preparing a uniform act to deal with medical tort reform, experienced medical practitioners might be called upon to provide information which can be used to make the law stronger and more useful.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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