Legislative Drafting: Understanding the essentials – Virtual workshop

In Legal and Judicial Reform by Amanda Anderson

Duration: 2 weeks
Induction Date: 22 February 2021 
Dates: 1 to 12 March 2021
Tuition fees: £1,260 (exc. VAT)

About the workshop
At PAI, we are committed to the goal that all our participants can continue to learn and develop during the global pandemic. We are pleased to present our new virtual workshop covering key issues for legislative drafting in the 21st century.

The drafting of legislation is one of the most important functions in a modern state. It is crucial that the law is as workable, accessible, fair and cost-effective as possible. Yet those who are called on to draft legislation are all too often simply asked to copy texts from another source. In doing so they will often not be able to fully understand why those texts use the language they do or are structured in the way they are. So, if those people do at some time have to create original legal rules, they may very well have little idea where to start.

Contrary to popular supposition the problem is not that these rules require the use of special legal language, for generally speaking the language used in them is, or should be, the same as would be used for ordinary formal writing. Yet the skill involved does demand the application of some quite easily learned principles.

Most fundamentally it is important to know what exactly it is that the rules are required to do and how they may be enforced, and to understand how they need to be constructed and why. This workshop aims to familiarise you with the necessary principles in a hands-on way by undergoing a concentrated series of drafting workshop sessions that approach the subject in a new and entirely practical way.

Our workshop will be delivered using Zoho ShowTime, a web conference software which has features that let us interact with you in real time.

Who is the workshop for?
The workshop is designed mainly for lawyers who are called upon to draft legislation, or those, whether lawyers or not, who want to learn exactly how legislative drafters need to go about their tasks. It will also be of benefit to those (often non-lawyers) who are called on in the course of their work to instruct legislative counsel in the preparation of legislation.

How participants will benefit
The workshop will:
• Introduce you to the essential characteristics of good legislative drafting
• Familiarise you with the way drafters need to use language to maintain consistency
• Explain the importance of using plain everyday language in drafting so far as is possible
• Enable you to understand some of the potential difficulties relating to the use of common words
• Help you to identify areas of drafting in your own jurisdiction which can be improved upon
• Make you more likely to be able to assist meaningfully in the process of amending and updating statute law that in modern times is vital to any jurisdiction.

Pre-workshop induction
We will create a practice session for participants to join Zoho ShowTime so that you understand the full functionality of the learning platform. This will be arranged on Monday 22 February 2021. During the induction, our Workshop Director will introduce some initial familiarisation questions that we will send to you.

These questions will help our Workshop Director to understand more about each participant, how long you have been in your post, your responsibilities, professional experience and any previous relevant training/development you have undertaken. We will also ask you about your workplace activities and whether you have any specific training needs or areas of work you would like to understand better. The questionnaire will also ask you to self-assess your current knowledge/skills and interest in certain areas of the programme.

What the workshop will cover
This workshop will explore practical ways in which to undertake and improve the drafting of legislation. You will have the opportunity both to improve pre-drafted texts to make them more readily comprehensible and to create new legal rules from instructions given. The workshop will involve sessions in which you will undertake both individual and group work, and there will also be opportunities for discussion, evaluation, self-criticism and redrafting.

A large component of this virtual workshop will involve attending short live webinars each day over a two-week period. Outside the webinar sessions, participants will be expected to undertake analytical or written exercises set by the Workshop Director, who will give individual feedback on each piece of written work submitted. Participants will have to complete each element of the programme and will need to fully commit both their time and effort throughout.