The term Sunsetting is also used in relation to software lifecycles, in relation to the expiration of software and website functions.   Special laws adopted to deal with emergency situations often contain forfeiture clauses; One of the most infamous special laws, Bill 78 of Quebec, had a sunset clause. The U.S.A. Patriot Act is a good example of legislation justifying a sunset provision. The Act, which was intended to address relatively short-term security issues after the events of 11 September 2001, contained, at the time of its initial drafting, a sunset provision for 31 December 2005. As part of the procedure, each agency must conduct a self-assessment of its roles and responsibilities for the Commission, including areas where its tasks may double those of other agencies and the impact of the Agency`s abolition on the loss of federal funds. The self-verification must be completed before 1 September of the odd-numbered year preceding the year in which the Agency would otherwise be abolished. The Commission must then complete its own examination before the following 1 January and hold public hearings before the following 1 February. The bill contains a sunset clause. This means that the law expires two years after the law is passed. Generally, a forfeiture clause is included when the legislation is likely to be controversial but is deemed necessary to address a particular problem.
Section 76 of the Act allows a “competent national authority” to change the expiry date for each provision of the Act. The competent national authority may terminate those provisions six months earlier or six months later than the two-year period provided for in Article 75. If, from the outset, parliament confers extensive powers on the government, inaction or inertia could make these powers (semi)permanent. An “emergency situation” can no longer apply or the situation may have changed, which means that the initial measures are no longer proportionate to the situation. The Legal Instruments Act 2003 requires the automatic expiry of most legal instruments (delegated legislation). From 2015, these legal instruments will have to be renewed or will expire automatically.  If the government wants to extend the legislation beyond this date, it must pass new laws. The requirement for a new parliamentary agreement can be “incorporated” into a sunset provision. It may be necessary to hold one or more votes in Parliament if an emergency law is to remain in force for a longer period. Pursuant to Section 224 of the US PATRIOT Act, parts of the surveillance initially expired on December 31, 2005.
 These were subsequently renewed, but expired on March 10, 2006 and were renewed in 2010.  The U.S. PATRIOT Act must terminate the following provisions: About the author: Graeme Cowie is a researcher at the House of Commons Library, specializing in Parliament and the Constitution. . . .