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Former Parliamentary Counsels discuss the legislative process

23 November 2016

The Constitution Committee hears evidence from legal experts and former Parliamentary Counsels for its large-scale inquiry on the Legislative Process. The Committee is exploring issues relating to the drafting of legislation.

Witnesses

Wednesday 23 November in Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster

First panel

At 10.25am

  • Daniel Greenberg, former Parliamentary Counsel

Second panel

At 10.50am

  • Michael Clancy OBE, Law Society of Scotland
  • Robert Khan, Law Society of England and Wales
  • Andrew Walker QC, Vice Chairman-Elect of the Bar Council and the Vice Chairman of the Bar Council Law Reform Committee

Third panel

At 11.30am

  • Sir Stephen Laws KCB QC, former First Parliamentary Counsel

Possible questions

Possible questions the Committee may put to the former Parliamentary Counsels include:

  • The Office of Parliamentary Counsel describe “good law” as law that is “necessary; clear; coherent; effective; and accessible”. To what extent do you think that legislation, at the point at which it is introduced in Parliament, meets these criteria?
  • To what extent are parliamentary counsel responsible for ensuring the quality of legislation, as opposed to departmental lawyers, policy officials, and ministers?
  • What are the key factors that influence the quality of the drafting of legislation?

Possible questions the Committee may put to the Law Societies and the Bar Council include:

  • Is pre-legislative scrutiny useful in your view? Are there other mechanisms or process which could provide a similar service?
  • What improvements would you like to see in the way in which legislation is drafted? How might these be achieved?
  • Should there be a greater emphasis on consolidating law? What are the advantages of amending versus consolidating law?

Further information

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