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Article

Gender Neutrality in EU Legislative Drafting

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords legislative drafting, EU legislation, EU treaties, multilingualism, gender neutrality
Authors William Robinson
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the English-speaking world the issue of gender-neutral drafting in legislation has been a much discussed topic for many years, and there are few legislative drafting manuals in the English-speaking world that do not address the issue.
    The EU and its institutions also attach great importance to gender issues, as is shown by the solemn commitments in EU texts to gender equality, by the establishment at the EU level of bodies or committees to focus on those issues, and by the EU actions and policies that seek to address them. But the issue of gender-neutral drafting in legislation is not even mentioned in the guidance drawn up by the legislative drafting experts of the EU institutions.
    This contribution, therefore, looks at how gender issues are dealt with in practice in the EU Treaties and in EU legislation. It finds signs of a traditional approach that is beginning to evolve but only slowly and somewhat unevenly.
    The contribution considers some of the reasons behind the approach taken by the EU institutions to gender neutrality in drafting and the impact of the important EU principles of multilingualism and multiculturalism before seeking to draw some conclusions.


William Robinson
Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London; formerly a coordinator in the Quality of Legislation Team of the European Commission Legal Service.

Petra Lea Láncos
Researcher – Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung (Speyer); Associate Professor – Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Faculty of Law (Budapest); Freelance interpreter (ACI) of the European Union.
Article

Managing the EU Acquis

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2016
Keywords EU, legislation, accessibility, updating
Authors William Robinson
AbstractAuthor's information

    EU legislation plays a key role in filling in the gaps in the framework created by the EU Treaties. The body of EU legislation known as the acquis has grown piecemeal over 60 years to a confused and confusing patchwork of over 100,000 pages. There is an urgent need for a more coherent approach to updating, condensing and revising that legislation to ensure that it is readily accessible. New mechanisms should be established for those tasks, or else the existing mechanisms should be enhanced and exploited to the full.


William Robinson
Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London.
Article

Structure of Legislation: A Paradigm for Accessibility and Effectiveness

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2015
Keywords effectiveness of legislation, structure of legislation, accessibility of legislation, quality drafting, clarity
Authors Elohor Onoge
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of this article is to examine how the structure of legislation can nurture accessibility and effectiveness of legislation.
    It explores whether the legislative drafter in carrying out the task of drafting can nurture effective communication of the policy maker’s intent to the targeted audience by making use of the structure of legislation as a tool, to ensure the legislation is accessible to the end user, and foster effectiveness.
    The third and fourth stage of Thornton’s stages of the drafting process – design and composition – would be examined and also Peter Butt’s types of structure, which relates to the drafting of legal documents but would be applied in this paper, to the drafting of legislation.


Elohor Onoge
Elohor Onoge LLM is a Nigerian legislative drafter working for the Federal Parliament. Email: stephyrook@gmail.com.
Article

Legislative Drafting in Plain Urdu Language for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

A Question of Complex Intricacies

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords Urdu, Pakistan, multilingual jurisdictions, legislative drafting, plain language movement
Authors Mazhar Ilahi
AbstractAuthor's information

    The plain language movement (PLM) for the writing of laws calls for improving legislative clarity by drafting the laws in a clear, simple, and precise manner. However, the main purpose of this aspiration is to facilitate the ordinary legislative audience to understand the laws with the least effort. In this respect, turning the pages of recent history reveals that this movement for plain language statutes has mostly been debated and analysed in the context of English as a language of the legislative text. However, in some parts of the multilingual world like India and Pakistan, English is not understood by the ordinary population at a very large scale but is still used as a language of the legislative text. This disparity owes its genesis to different country-specific ethnolingual and political issues. In this context but without going into the details of these ethnolingual and political elements, this article aims to analyse the prospects of plain Urdu legislative language in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan by by analyzing (1) the possibility of producing a plain language version of the legislative text in Urdu and (2) the potential benefit that the ordinary people of Pakistan can get from such plain statutes in terms of the themes of the PLM. In answering these questions, the author concludes that neither (at present) is it possible to produce plain Urdu versions of the statute book in Pakistan nor is the population of Pakistan likely to avail any current advantage from the plain Urdu statutes and further that, for now, it is more appropriate to continue with the colonial heritage of English as the language of the legislative text.


Mazhar Ilahi
The author is Solicitor in England and Wales and currently an Associate Research Fellow as well as Director of the Legislative Drafting Clinic at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Previously, he has worked as a Civil Judge/Judicial Magistrate and practised as Advocate of High Courts in Pakistan. He is also a country (Pakistan) representative of ‘Clarity’, an international association promoting plain legal language.
Article

Plain, Clear, and Something More?

Criteria for Communication in Legal Language

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords plain language, legislative drafting, definition, mediation, ignorance of the law
Authors Derek Roebuck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Legislation may be presumed to be intended to transmit a message to those whose conduct it aims to affect. That message achieves its purpose only insofar as it is intelligible to its recipients. Drafters should make every effort to use plain language, but not all meaning can be transferred in plain language. The true criterion is clarity.
    ‘Mediation’ and ‘conciliation’ are examples of definitions created by legislators which do not correspond with categories in practice. Historical research illuminates cultural differences which affect transmission of meaning. Recent practice also illustrates the possibilities of creative methods for resolving disputes and the dangers of unnecessary prescription.
    Imprecise thinking of legislators precludes transmission of precise meaning, as does preference for word-for-word translation. ‘Highest Common Factor’ language is no substitute for natural target language.
    No efforts of legislators or translators can prevail against political power. ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse’ overrides the imperative to transfer meaning.
    If research is to be effective, it must be not only comparative but interdisciplinary.


Derek Roebuck
Professor Derek Roebuck, Senior Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.
Article

Making EU Legislation Clearer

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2014
Keywords European Union, transparency, openness, clarity of legislation
Authors William Robinson
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article looks at the clarity of the legislation of the European Union (EU), in particular the clarity of the language used. It sketches out the basic EU rules on transparency and openness, past expressions of concern for clearer EU legislation, and the response of the institutions. Finally, it considers briefly some ways to make EU legislation clearer.


William Robinson
Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, formerly coordinator in the Quality of Legislation Team of the European Commission Legal Service.
Article

Linguistic Disharmony, National Language Authority and Legislative Drafting in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2013
Keywords National Language Authority, National Language of Pakistan, Legislation in Urdu, Plain Language Movement, Urdu Language
Authors Mazhar Ilahi
AbstractAuthor's information

    It is quite interesting to note that first, the first language of most of the population of Pakistan remains different in different geographical regions. Secondly, Urdu, which is the second language of most of the population of Pakistan though declared to be the sole constitutional and official language, is not so accepted by all the communities resident in Pakistan. As a result, and thirdly, the laws of Pakistan are drafted in a non-native language, English, which is mostly the third language of a small fraction of the country’s population . This situation runs counter to the theme of the Plain Language Movement for writing of laws (PLM), which strives to make the laws understandable for its subjects. The problem, in reality, owes its genesis to different ethno-lingual and political issues. However, without going into much detail of these ethno-lingual and political elements, this article aims to analyse the question of the need for linguistic harmony, the main causes of lack of focus upon the same and the role of the National Language Authority (NLA) in the context. In addressing these issues the author concludes that lack of political will to handle the natural ensuing issues of the multilingual features of the Pakistani society and the (English) linguistic hegemony of the ruling elites (civil and military bureaucracy) are the two main causes of the failure of the NLA to administer Urdu as a sole national/official/legislative language of Pakistan.


Mazhar Ilahi
The author is a Solicitor qualified in England & Wales currently working as an Associate Research Fellow and Director of the Legislative Drafting Clinic at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Previously, he has worked as a Civil Judge/Judicial Magistrate and is practicing as Advocate of High Courts in Pakistan. He is also country (Pakistan) representative of ‘CLARITY’, International Association Promoting Plain Legal Language. The author acknowledges the research facilitation provided by the IALS in writing this article.
Book Review

A Whole Image or a Few Pieces of Mosaic?

A Comment on the Monograph of Miklós Király: Unity and Diversity – The Cultural Effects of the Law of the European Union

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2013
Authors Bartha Ildikó
Author's information

Bartha Ildikó
Ildikó Bartha is an assistant professor of European law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Debrecen. Her research primarily focuses on the external relations of the European Union, specifically on the treatymaking competence of the EU. She also has an interest in EU internal market law, and the relationship between economic freedoms and fundamental rights.

Petra Lea Láncos
Adjunct professor at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University of Budapest, Faculty of Law at the Department for European Law. She is also member of the secretariat of the Hungarian Deputy Commissioner for the Protection of the Interests of Future Generations (“Green Ombudsman”).
Article

Statutory Interpretation in Multilingual Jurisdictions

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2013
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.

    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.
Article

Legal Meaning in the Interpretation of Multilingual Legislations

Comparative Analysis of Rwanda, Canada and Ireland

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2012
Keywords intention of the Parliament, multilingual ambiguous provisions, interpretation of laws, multilingual legislations interpretation approach, comparative analysis
Authors Froduard Munyangabe
Abstract

    When construing multilingual Laws, the use of rules and methods generally used in the monolingual statutory interpretation becomes more complicated due to a multiplicity of texts equally authentic. Also, the pre-eminence of one language version to the other version(s) does not facilitate the interpreter because if the other language version can shade light to elucidate the first, it can also increase uncertainty about the first. This dilemma leads to the question of knowing whether there could not be another appropriate approach to moderate these two options.
    The answer is derived from a comparison of the prevalence of one language version approach both adopted in Rwanda and Ireland and the equal authenticity rule adopted in Canada. The comparison is made by analysing the sequential steps of approaches used differently in the three respective multilingual jurisdictions in order to point out gaps of the two approaches.


Froduard Munyangabe
Article

The Challenges of Rwandan Drafters in the Drafting Process for Good Quality Legislation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2-3 2012
Keywords quality of legislation, Rwanda, drafting process, drafting instructions, language and drafting, precision, clarity
Authors Alain Songa Gashabizi
Abstract

    Rwanda is a country in search a stable legal system, which includes the drafting of quality legislation. Following the events of the 1994 genocide the lack of experienced drafters and the civil law method of decentralized drafting the Rwandan legislation tends to be of bad quality mainly because of the bad quality drafts provided by the various, often unidentifiable sources of drafting. This article spells out the specific problems that the Rwandan drafter faces and offers solutions by means of a case study. The article concludes by making some specific recommendations.


Alain Songa Gashabizi

Xandra Kramer
Professor at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. This contribution and the editorship of this issue has been made possible with the support of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) within its Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (VIDI).

Astrid Stadler
Professor of Law, University of Konstanz, Germany; Chair of Comparative Mass Litigation, Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

Simone Glanert
Senior Lecturer in French and European Comparative Law, Kent Law School, Eliot College, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NS, UK; S.Glanert@kent.ac.uk. I presented early formulations of this argument at the RELINE Network for Interdisciplinary Studies in Language and the Law Seminar, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, on 25 October 2011; at the Faculté de Droit, Université de Montréal, on 27 January 2012; at the 4th Annual Meeting of the Irish Society of Comparative Law (ISCL), Faculty of Law, University of Cork, on 2 March 2012; and at the Faculté de Droit, Université de Grenoble, on 22 March 2012. I am grateful to Anne Lise Kjær, Jean-Franois Gaudreault-DesBiens, Bénédicte Fuller-Sage and David Dechenaud for their kind expression of interest in my work and generous invitations.

Jean-Claude Piris
Director-General, Legal Service, Council of the European Union. The views expressed in this lecture are the author's personal views and do not in any way commit the position of the Council of the European Union. The author thanks Mr Tito Gallas, Head of the Section of the Lawyer-Linguists of the Council's Legal Service, for his assistance. This lecture was delivered on 8 November 2004. It has been published in French under the title Union européenne: comment rédiger une législation de qualité dans 20 langues et pour 25 Etats membres, 121 Revue du droit public 457-491 (2005).
Article

Cultural Diversity ‘Under Review’ The Fachverband der Buch- und Medienwirtschaft Case

Case C-531/07, Fachverband der Buch- und Medienwirtschaft v. LIBRO Handelsgesellschaft mbH, Judgment of the Court (Second Chamber) of 30 April 2009

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2009
Authors Delia Ferri
Author's information

Delia Ferri
Dr. in European and Italian Constitutional Law (University of Verona); Registered Attorney at Law (Verona Bar).
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