Legislation Practice

Legislation Practice: legal drafting with intelligence

Legislative drafting is a highly technical specialty, which requires a diverse range of analytical, communication, editorial and project-management skills. Laws affect entire populations, so this one skilled person on a multi-disciplinary team can make a massive difference to many. Too many legal drafting projects often fail to deliver what was expected, frequently because of inflexible positions adopted by legal drafters who only see a partial view of the legislation development lifecycle.


What does a legislative drafter do and why haven’t I heard of them before?

A legislative drafter is an expert who expresses government policy in law. At least, that’s what many people will tell you. Sometimes legislative drafters are qualified legal practitioners, sometimes they are subject matter experts, sometimes they are very experienced public servants. Sometimes, they aren’t specially qualified for this task, or they don’t receive the necessary training – they are just a person who by circumstances or coincidence ends up penning the text of a law.

“Our goal is to help draft effective laws that can be implemented effectively”

You may not have heard about specialist legislative drafters before because they usually work within government. They are not a politician or the government sponsor or advocate for the legislation in question. You’ll never see them on TV or in the newspaper. You’ll rarely hear about them in Parliament. They generally do not advocate for, or against, a particular piece of legislation on which they are working. They are expected to remain neutral throughout the drafting process.


The regulatory framework life cycle

Legislative drafting is, in fact, just one feature of the life cycle of a regulatory framework, that is any systematic, formal means by which a government seeks to regulate or modify the behaviour of its citizens with the ultimate goal of implementing public policy. The diagram below shows how it works in more detail.Legislation Lifecycle diagram

Legislative drafters specialise in, and focus on legislative drafting, but they also get to observe and experience a broad range of the other activities involved in the development of public policy that leads to regulatory frameworks. Sometimes, though, this means that legislative drafters are outside that life cycle, and the valuable insights that they might bring to the process are not utilised.

We think that better laws will result from a more holistic approach to legislative development: an approach where legislative drafters can apply their skill-sets to foresee and prevent problems along the way. Most importantly, we think that the best laws will result when a multi-disciplined team works in sync throughout the entire lifecycle of policy development with political engagement, broad consultation, engagement with operational specialists and stakeholder input.

We have long experience of developing not just legislation, but regulatory frameworks, backed by our qualified legal lead, who has trained in one of the best government legislative drafting offices in the world. We have done this in many different jurisdictions on lots of different subject using several different approaches. More than that, though, we have experience in other disciplines that help legislative drafting processes. We’ve seen legislative drafting from all sides of the table and seen directly the benefits that result from greater integration. That’s why we think we can help you to find better regulatory solutions for your public policy problems. We know that you don’t just need any law. You need an effective law that can be effectively implemented.

Senscia can help with all stages of the drafting process: from idea to implementation.

We have four distinct areas of offering: