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European Journal of Law Reform

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Issue 3, 2013 Expand all abstracts
Editorial

Editorial

Authors Cherie Booth and Helen Xanthaki
Author's information

Cherie Booth
Cherie Booth, QC, is a leading barrister specialising in public law, human rights, employment and European Community law, arbitration and mediation.

Helen Xanthaki
Professor Helan Xanthaki is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (School of Advanced Study, University of London), and the Academic Director of the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies there.
Article

Legislative Techniques in Rwanda

Present and Future

Keywords legislative drafting, law-making, drafting techniques, Rwanda, quality of legislation
Authors Helen Xanthaki
AbstractAuthor's information

    This report is the result of the collective work of 26 Rwandan civil servants from a number of ministries, who set out to offer the Ministry of Justice a report on legislative drafting in Rwanda. The work was undertaken under the umbrella of the Diploma in Legislative Drafting offered by the Institute for Legal Professional Development (ILPD) in Nyanza under the rectorship of Prof. Nick Johnson. The authors have used their experience of practising drafting in Rwanda, but have contributed to the report in their personal capacity: their views are personal and do not reflect those of the Government of Rwanda.
    My only contribution was the identification of topics, which follows the well-established structure of manuals and textbooks in drafting; the division of the report into two parts: Part 1 on the legislative process and Part 2 on drafting techniques; and the methodology of each individual entry to our report: what is current Rwandan practice, what are international standards, what is the future of Rwanda, and a short bibliography to allow the readers and users of the report to read further, if needed.
    The strength of this report lies both in the methodology used and in the content offered. The breakdown of topics, their prioritization and their sequence allow the reader to acquire a holistic view on how legislation is drafted in Rwanda, but there is nothing to prevent its use in the context of surveys on legislative drafting and legislative quality in other jurisdictions. The content offers a unique insight into the legislative efforts of a jurisdiction in transition from civil to common law: both styles are assessed without prejudice, thus offering a unique fertile ground for critical assessment and practical impact analysis.
    June 2013


Helen Xanthaki
Senior Lecturer and Academic Director, Centre for Legislative Studies, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Lawyer (Athens Bar).
Article

The Drafter’s Role in the Drafting Process

Keywords drafter, drafting process, techniques, scrutiny
Authors Mico Augustin
AbstractAuthor's information

    Every government needs legislation to cover all issues transposing obligations in the manner required by the initiator and with respect to constitutional obligations and rules that provide for the conduct of society.
    Every legislative drafter should strive to achieve a law that is people oriented. The idea is to serve by extending legislative benefits to them in the best possible manner. Drafting is not a simple transcription or translation of administrative or executive guidelines, but is the command of legislative intent. It is a mixture of vision, mission and design, which brings out a workable proposition considering the background of a problem and foreseeing the ramifications of the legislative action. Drafting always supposes precision, brevity and clarity. Drafting should be compared to a focus of technical knowledge of a special kind that put together minds to produce a unity of thought enunciated as a command.
    In order to produce quality legislation, drafters need undergraduate law training, followed by specialised postgraduate training in legislative studies, combined with hands on experience in a drafting office with an experienced senior drafter.


Mico Augustin
Legislative Drafter and Advisor of the Rwanda Parliament/Chamber of Deputies. Email: micog2009@yahoo.fr
Article

The Pursuit of Clarity, Precision and Unambiguity in Drafting Retrospective Legislation

Keywords retrospectivity, clarity, precision, unambiguity, legislative drafting
Authors Elias Turatsinze
AbstractAuthor's information

    The hypothesis of this paper is that clarity, precision and unambiguity are the essential tools for expressing retrospective intent, which is a pre-requisite for quality and validity of retrospective legislation. The main objective of this work is to show that retrospective laws are valid, if the retrospective intent is expressed in clear, precise and unambiguous words within the statute. The term retrospectivity is used broadly to describe any legislation or decision affecting pre-enacting conduct. It encompasses statutes affecting the pre-enactment events, administrative regulations or decisions which look back in time and judicial decisions that overturn prior decisions. All these areas cannot be covered in this limited piece of work. Thus, the emphasis in this work will be put on retrospectivity of statutes at the drafting stage. Although it may be referred to generally, retrospective delegated legislation is outside the scope of this work. Particular attention will be directed towards the importance of clarity, precision and unambiguity in attaining quality and validity of retrospective legislation.


Elias Turatsinze
Elias Turatsinze graduated in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.
Article

Statutory Interpretation in Multilingual Jurisdictions

Keywords drafting, multilingual, translation, interpretation, authenticity
Authors Odethie Birunga
AbstractAuthor's information

    Considering that every piece of legislation is subject to legal interpretation, its practicability depends highly on successful interpretation. In any legislation drafted in more than one language, divergence in meanings of versions is not only possible, but inevitable. It is not a simple task to draft in a way so that contexts are translated and included in all different language versions so that it becomes one meaningful legislation. While relying on one version only in the course of interpreting a piece of legislation may sound a lot easier, there could be ambiguous passages which may be clarified by consulting other versions. The existence of discrepancies between the versions of legislation is neither a smooth sail in multilingual environment.


Odethie Birunga
Odethie Birungi Kamugundu is a Principal State attorney in the ministry of Justice Rwanda since 2010 in the Legislative drafting department which drafts, coordinates and oversees the drafting of laws in Rwanda. Prior to that, she worked in the National Public Prosecution as a prosecutor from 2002 to 2010. She graduated in Law (LLB) from the National University of Rwanda in 1999, and in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.
Article

The Principle of Ultra Vires and the Local Authorities’ Decisions in England

Keywords ultra vires, administrative decisions, legislative drafting, validity and invalidity of local authority administrative decisions, misuse of discretion
Authors Charles Aguma
AbstractAuthor's information

    The hypothesis of this article is that valid administrative decisions from local authorities are guaranteed via clear and precise enabling clauses in the primary legislation. The article argues that the style of drafting local authorities’ legislations influences decisions taken by local authorities. First, legislations need to be drafted in a style that clearly and precisely spells out the limits of powers of the local authorities in order to provide sufficient guidance to local authorities’ administrators to act lawfully. In attempting to exercise implied powers conferred by the imprecise enabling legislation, however, local authorities tend to go beyond intended legal powers and as a result take unreasonable, arbitrary and invalid decisions. More so, drafters rarely provide sufficient guidance about which considerations are properly relevant to the exercise of discretion and which are not. Secondly, obscure, wide and ambiguous enabling clauses in the primary legislations are substantial causes of courts’ misinterpretation of legislation as understanding the limits of the powers of the local authorities is a challenge. On the other hand, it is questionable whether the whole range of activities performed by a local authority by invoking implied powers, while exercising discretion, under the umbrella of doing anything that is calculated to facilitate or is conducive to or incidental to the discharge of any of its functions can be regarded as lawful. This article attempts to respond to that question. Although the principle of ultra vires requires the strict observance of the limits of the powers conferred in legislation, local authorities tend to invoke widely drafted provisions to perform activities that are said to be incidental to the express powers of which courts may declare invalid.


Charles Aguma
Charles Aguma graduated in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.
Article

Use of Legislative Section Headings to Achieve Effectiveness: Comparative Study of Rwandan and Australian Jurisdictions

Keywords headings, legislative drafting, Rwanda, Australia, Horn
Authors Samuel Ngirinshuti
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this study is to prove that the use of section headings in legislation contributes to achieve effectiveness by helping readers of legislation find what they need to know faster, and understand it more easily. To prove the hypothesis, this study uses a comparative methodology by applying Horn’s criteria: Primary Users and Official Interpreters; Assistance for Primary Users; and Assistance for Official Interpreters. The study applies those criteria to Australian and Rwandan jurisdictions.


Samuel Ngirinshuti
Samuel Ngirinshuti graduated in Legislative Drafting (LLM) from the University of London- Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 2012.