Legislative Drafters' Forum

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PACIFIC LEGISLATIVE DRAFTERS’ TECHNICAL FORUM

The Pacific Legislative Drafters’ Technical Forum (“Drafters’ Forum”) is the regional network for legislative drafters and legislative drafting assistance providers in the Pacific region.  The establishment of the Drafters’ Forum was recommended in a plan of action for sustainable legislative drafting capacity building, developed by the 2006 Pacific Working Group on Legislative Drafting. 

The purpose of this page is to contribute to sharing of information and the strengthening of networks of legislative drafters, a central focus of the Drafters’ Forum.  This page provides background information and makes available key documents and resources.  In particular, the page aims to share information and resources between national law offices (see Member Resources below).

BACKGROUND

The following table provides a summary and links to the outcome documents of the five meetings held to date.  
 

Fifth Drafters' Forum Meeting - 2015

  • Hosted by the Samoan Attorney General’s Office and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Apia, Samoa;
  • Attended by parliamentary counsel, senior legislative drafters and senior government lawyers from Pacific Island Countries, together with representatives from national, regional and international that provide legislative drafting assistance;
  • Participants shared information on their respective legislative drafting services and discussed ways for strengthening legislative development and drafting in their jurisdictions.
  • Participants also shared and increased knowledge of addressing technical legislative drafting issues, including the formulation of standard legislative provisions, adapting model laws and provisions, and drafting legislation of a technical nature.
  • Participants benefitted from two day training on the legislative implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This training was selected on the basis that it addressed an issue raised by participants at the 2014 Drafters’ Forum, being the need for more opportunities for training on a subject matter of legislation. The subject of ‘disabilities’ is a development area of growing interest in policy and legislative work throughout the region.

Fourth Drafters' Forum Meeting - 2014

  • Hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) in Suva, Fiji;
  • Attended by parliamentary counsel, senior legislative drafters and senior government lawyers from Pacific Island countries, together with representatives from national, regional and international organisations that provide legislative drafting assistance;
  • Discussions included current institutional and resource issues affecting legislative development in their countries and ways to address them; and legislative reforms concerning priority regional policy issues, including the implementation of human rights treaties and environmental and maritime regulation.
  • Participants also benefitted from a one and half day Legal Policy Development course delivered by the Australian AG’s Department.
  • Outcomes Statement available here:[PDF 157KB]

Third Drafters' Forum Meeting - 2012

  • Hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) in Suva, Fiji;
  • Attended by parliamentary counsel, senior legislative drafters and senior government lawyers from thirteen Pacific Island countries, together with representatives from national, regional and international organisations that provide legislative drafting assistance;
  • Outcomes Statement available here:[PDF 56.9KB];
  • Based on meeting discussions and recommendations, participants developed a Regional Action Plan for sustainable legislative drafting capacity building in Forum Island countries: [PDF 78.7KB]

Second Drafters' Forum Meeting - 2009

  • Hosted by the Australian Attorney-General's Department (Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing) in Canberra, Australia;
  • Attended by 13 legal officers from seven Pacific Island countries, together with representatives from Australian Attorney-General's Department (AGD), NZ PCO, Commonwealth Secretariat and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS);
  • Meeting proceedings centred on a three-day technical workshop on legislative drafting and the role of the drafter, presented by AGD and NZ PCO drafters.

First Drafters' Forum Meeting - 2007

  • Hosted by Commonwealth Secretariat and New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel's Office (PCO) in Port Vila, Vanuatu;
  • Attended by lawyers from nine Pacific Island countries;
  • The Meeting focused on improving drafting skills of participants, and strengthening the network of drafters in region.

Pacific Working Group on Legislative Drafting - 2006

  • Hosted by Commonwealth Secretariat in Auckland, New Zealand
  • Working Group was convened in pursuance of a mandate provided by Commonwealth Law Ministers for the Secretariat to develop a short course in legislative drafting;
  • Attendees at the Working Group meeting included Attorneys and Solicitors General, Parliamentary Counsel, legislative drafters, legal consultants and representatives from relevant regional organisations from the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand;
  • The Working Group discussed and agreed on recommendations regarding issues including meeting legislative drafting needs in the Pacific; training needs; and support structures for legislative drafters;
  • One of the key conclusions of the Working Group was the recommendation for a regional network of drafters, to provide support and sharing of expertise, and to facilitate exchange of experience and lessons learned;
  • The Proposal to coordinate an annual Technical Forum was included in a Plan of Action - Conclusions, Recommendations and Framework for Capacity Building for Legislative Drafting: [PDF 401KB]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEMBER RESOURCES

The overall objective of the 2012 Regional Action Plan for sustainable legislative drafting capacity building in Forum Island countries (above) is that Forum Island countries have ready access to high quality legislative drafting services.  One of the strategies identified under the Plan in support of this objective is strengthening networks of legislative drafters and sharing of information, including through sharing information and resources between national law offices.

Samoa - Office of the Attorney General:
  • Legislative Drafting Handbook (2008) [472KB]
  • Attorney-General's Directive No. 4 - Drafting Conventions (10 February 2010) [66.2KB]
  • Attorney-General's Directive No. 5 - Form of Amending and Repealing Provisions (20 August 2010) [10.8KB]

*Please note that the revised resources are expected to be used from July 2014


Australia - Office of Parliamentary Counsel:

  • Drafting Directions Series [here]
  • Drafting Manuals:  Drafting Manual, Amending Forms Manual, Plain English Manual [here]
  • Selection of OPC Word Notes (includes sample Bill documents) [here]

Cook Islands - Crown Law Office:

  • Solicitor-General's Legislative Drafting Directives for the Cook Islands [803KB]
  • Guide to Preparing Instructions for the Drafting of Legislation [587KB]
  • Bill Template [230KB]

New Zealand - Parliamentary Counsel Office:

  • Legislation Advisory Committee - Guidelines on the Process and Content of Legislation [here]
  • Principles of clear drafting (extract from PCO in-house Drafting Manual) [here]
  • Drafting Manual for Members Bills for Pacific Islands Parliaments [here]

Niue - Crown Law Office:

  • Legislative Drafting Directives
  • Guide to Preparing Instructions for Drafting Legislation

RMI – Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nitijela:

  • Legislative Drafting Manual for Members [here]

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