Official Secrets Act 1939

The Official Secrets Act 1939 (2 & 3 Geo. 6 c. 121) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It substitutes a new section 6 into the Official Secrets Act 1920, which limits the scope of that offence to offences under section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 (it had formerly applied to all offences under the Official Secrets Act 1911 and to all offences under that Act). It was enacted in reaction to the "Sandys affair" in 1938, when Duncan Sandys MP was threatened with prosecution under section 6 in an attempt to get him to disclose who had given him information about the inadequate state of the air defences around London.

Official Secrets Act 1939[1]
Long titleAn Act to amend section six of the Official Secrets Act 1920.
Citation2 & 3 Geo. 6 c. 121
Royal assent23 November 1939
Commencement23 November 1939[2]
Other legislation
AmendsOfficial Secrets Act 1920
Relates toOfficial Secrets Act 1911
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ This short title was given to this Act by section 2(1) of this Act.
  2. ^ This Act came into force on the date on which it received royal assent because no other date was provided: Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1793