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The drafting stage is often the first at which the policy as a whole is subjected to meticulous scrutiny.

Sex chat in ottawa - Book challenge consolidating democracy democracy journal regional third wave

It is about the content of law, its architecture, its language and its accessibility – and about the links between those things.

It is an initiative that I hope will engage government departments, drafters, the policy profession, parliamentarians, the judiciary - and, crucially, the users of legislation. The Law Commission has, in its 47 years, promoted a large number of reforming, repealing or consolidating Bills.

Richard Heaton First Parliamentary Counsel and Permanent Secretary of the Cabinet Office Most recently, the Commons Select Committee for Political and Constitutional Reform launched an inquiry on Ensuring standards in the quality of legislation in January 2012. Parliamentary Counsel has adopted a plain English style which would have been unrecognisable to their 1970s predecessors, as well as a culture of innovation over precedent.

Improving Parliamentary and public scrutiny of legislation has been a government objective in recent years, seeking to improve both democratic engagement and legislative quality. The government is also pursuing a drive to remove unnecessary burdens on citizens and businesses.

It is responsible for drafting all government bills, translating policy into laws which are as clear, effective and readable as possible.

The key responsibility of Parliamentary Counsel is to subject policy ideas to a rigorous intellectual and legal analysis, and to clarify and express legislative propositions.

That thought is at the heart of the good law initiative, which the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel is launching with the support of Ministers.

Good law is necessary, effective, clear, coherent and accessible.

We should be concerned about it for several reasons. Last year I commissioned a review of the causes of complexity in legislation. It suggests that there is no single cause of complexity, but many. But for me, a striking theme of this report is that while there are many reasons for adding complexity, there is no compelling incentive to create simplicity or to avoid making an intricate web of laws even more complex. I believe that we need to establish a sense of shared accountability, within and beyond government, for the quality of what (perhaps misleadingly) we call our statute book, and to promote a shared professional pride in it.

Excessive complexity hinders economic activity, creating burdens for individuals, businesses and communities. In doing so, I hope we can create confidence among users that legislation is for them.

So it is not surprising that statutes and their subordinate regulations are complex; and it is perhaps reasonable to assume that citizens will need help or guidance in understanding the raw material of law.

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