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Strengthening Legislative Drafting Practice
  • Posted: 23/May/2017
  • T here can hardly be a reasoned rational legislative output in terms of enactments without a competent knowledgeable and clearheaded team or office of legislative drafters.

    It is to be understood that so much go into the making of legislation. The unseen hands of the legislative drafters, most arduously, Chisel out statutes from a bush of proposals. This, by any means, is not a child’s play, as any piece of intelligible, compact codes of law would have cost some pounds of brains.

    What then is legislative drafting? Legislative drafting is often used interchangeably with such general terms as legal drafting or legal writing. Much as this may not be entirely incorrect, Legal drafting or Legal writing refer, generically, to all aspects of the Solicitor’s job, whilst legislative drafting as a kernel of the nut, specifically, has to do with those aspects of legal drafting or writing, involved in the preparation of a proposed legislation, whether principal or subsidiary.

    It has to be noted that though the Black’s Law Dictionary defines the term ‘drafting’ as ‘the practice, technique, or skill involved in preparing legal documents (Bryan A Garner, Blacks Law Dictionary, Thompson West, US (Eight Edition) 2004, page 531),that dictionary, has no definition for legislative drafting. The term legislative drafting has been taken to be about composing proposed legislation.

    N. Onwe, in Groundwork of Legislative Drafting ( SNAAP Press Limited, Enugu, 2009, Page 1, defines legislative drafting as: “The art of writing legislation, which includes subsidiary or secondary legislation; administrative orders, notices, rules, warrants and similar instruments’’.
    Legislative drafting is both an art and a science. The legislative drafter, more like a design architect, has to sketch out a plan for the proposed legislation carefully, to enable a formidable structure that can stand in the legal environment. In addition to having the passion of a designer, to ensure a structural layout and formatting that is consistent with the typo graphic approach to drafting styles, the drafter should have a good working knowledge of the gamut of laws in the legal system. Good legislative drafting identifies the legal objectives of a proposed legislation and meets them fully.

    This is achievable by expressing the necessary legal rights and obligations in an accurate clear manner, while ensuring that the draft complies with acceptable norms and relates harmoniously to the legal order.

    By: Hilary Onwe 
    The Nation News