8. The title of an act shall give as succinct and full an indication as possible of the subject matter which does not mislead the reader as to the content of the enacting terms.Where appropriate, the full title of the act may be followed by a short title.
The title proper, that is to say, the formula chosen to give, in the title, certain indications as to the main subject matter of the act must, in particular, make it possible to determine who is (or is not) concerned by the act. It must give as clear an indication as possible of the content of the act. Authors should not encumber the title with extraneous information, but, rather, use keywords characteristic of the different areas of Community legislation (it is useful, in that context, to refer to the analytical structure of the Directory of Community legislation in force).
Authors should therefore consider what information must appear in the title in order for a reader directly concerned (for example, not every farmer, but every apple producer) to be prompted to read the act bearing that title.
The title of the act must be different from the titles of other acts in force (but see point 8.4).
Acts amending earlier acts are a special case. The title is incomplete unless it mentions all the acts amended, by number. Without such a reference, it is not possible to find all the amendments to a given act. If the sole purpose of the act in question is to amend another act, either the title and number of the act to be amended is mentioned, or its number and the purpose of the amendment. In contrast, if the act in question lays down autonomous provisions and consequently amends another act in a purely subsidiary manner, only the number of that act is given.
Another case which should be mentioned is that of the title of implementing acts, which refers to the basic act by number and title, in the case of general provisions, and by number and area concerned, in the case of specific provisions.
For individual acts, the title is followed, as appropriate, by reference to the authentic language or languages.
A short title for a legislative act is less useful in Community law — where acts are identified by a combination of numbers and letters (for example ‘1999/123/EC’) — than in systems which do not have such a system of numbering. In certain cases, however, a short title has come to be used in practice (for example, Regulation (EEC) No 4064/89 = ‘the Merger Regulation’) and the author should consider, when drafting the act, whether such a title could be useful.
The following rules apply to a short title:
- it is created when the act is adopted, in anticipation of its future utility, in view of the importance of the act; it is not recommended where a number of related acts exist in the same field, when it could cause confusion;
- it does not replace use of the full title when the act is referred to for the first time in a later act;
- its use is not compulsory (the use of letters and numbers could be a more convenient and more certain means of reference, depending on the circumstances);
- if it is used, it is the only permitted abbreviation of the title of the act in question.
The full title of a legislative act comprises:
(1) an indication of the type of act;
(2) the abbreviation of the Community concerned, the number of the act and the year;
(3) the name of the institution or institutions which adopted the act;
(4) the date of adoption;
(5) a succinct indication of the subject matter.