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Article

Democratic Scrutiny of COVID-19 Laws

Are Parliamentary Committees Up to the Job?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords parliament, scrutiny, committees, COVID-19, rights, legislation, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom
Authors Sarah Moulds
AbstractAuthor's information

    In response to the complex and potentially devastating threat posed by COVID-19, parliaments around the world have transferred unprecedented powers to executive governments and their agencies (Edgar, ‘Law-making in a Crisis’, 2020), often with the full support of the communities they represent. These laws were passed within days, sometimes hours, with limited safeguards and a heavy reliance on sunsetting provisions, some of which are dependent on the pandemic being officially called to an end. While parliaments themselves have suspended or reduced sitting days (Twomey, ‘A Virtual Australian Parliament is Possible’, 2020), parliamentary committees have emerged as the forum of choice when it comes to providing some form of parliamentary oversight of executive action.
    This article aims to evaluate the capacity of parliamentary committees established within the Australian, New Zealand (NZ) and United Kingdom (UK) parliaments to effectively scrutinize and review governments’ responses to COVID-19. It does this by comparing the legal framework underpinning the relevant committees in each jurisdiction and examining the work of these committees with a view to offering some preliminary views as to their impact on the shape of the laws made in response to COVID-19 in those jurisdictions. The article concludes by offering some preliminary observations about the scrutiny capacity of the parliamentary committee systems in Australia, NZ and the UK in the context of emergency lawmaking and flags areas for further research, evaluation and reform.


Sarah Moulds
Dr. Sarah Moulds, University of South Australia.
Article

Access_open Approach with Caution

Sunset Clauses as Safeguards of Democracy?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords emergency legislation, sunset clauses, post-legislative review, COVID-19
Authors Sean Molloy
AbstractAuthor's information

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders across the globe scrambled to adopt emergency legislation. Amongst other things, these measures gave significant powers to governments in order to curb the spreading of a virus, which has shown itself to be both indiscriminate and deadly. Nevertheless, exceptional measures, however necessary in the short term, can have adverse consequences both on the enjoyment of human rights specifically and democracy more generally. Not only are liberties severely restricted and normal processes of democratic deliberation and accountability constrained but the duration of exceptional powers is also often unclear. One potentially ameliorating measure is the use of sunset clauses: dispositions that determine the expiry of a law or regulation within a predetermined period unless a review determines that there are reasons for extension. The article argues that without effective review processes, far from safeguarding rights and limiting state power, sunset clauses can be utilized to facilitate the transferring of emergency powers whilst failing to guarantee the very problems of normalized emergency they are included to prevent. Thus, sunset clauses and the review processes that attach to them should be approached with caution.


Sean Molloy
Dr Sean Molloy is a Lecturer in Law at Northumbria University.
Article

The Hallmarks of the Legislative Drafting Process in Common Law Systems:

A Comparative Study of Eswatini and Ghana

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords legislation, comparing drafting process, Commonwealth Africa, comparative law
Authors Nomalanga Pearl Gule
AbstractAuthor's information

    This research study is an attempt to test the comparative criteria developed by Stefanou in his work where he discusses the characteristics that defines the drafting process in the two most dominant legal systems, common and civil law. It examines the legislative drafting process in common law countries with the aim to establish if the comparative criteria identify with the process that defines the drafting of legislation in those jurisdictions. Two common law jurisdictions were selected and an in-depth comparative analysis of steps undertaken in their drafting process was done. The scope of the study is only confined to the drafting process in the common law system and the criteria that is tested are those which define the drafting process in the common law jurisdictions only.


Nomalanga Pearl Gule
Nomalanga Pearl Gule is State Counsel, Government of Eswatini, Attorney at Law (Eswatini Bar). LL.B (UNISWA), LL.M Commercial Law (UCT), LL.M Drafting Legislation, Regulations, and Policy (IALS).
Article

Reducing Ethnic Conflict in Guyana through Political Reform

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Guyana, race, ethnic conflict, political power, constitutional reform
Authors Nicola Pierre
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article discusses using constitutional reform to reduce ethnic conflict in Guyana. I start by exploring the determinants of ethnic conflict. I next examine Guyana’s ethnopolitical history to determine what factors led to political alignment on ethnic lines and then evaluate the effect of the existing political institutions on ethnic conflict. I close with a discussion on constitutional reform in which I consider a mix of consociationalist, integrative, and power-constraining mechanisms that may be effective in reducing ethnic conflict in Guyana’s ethnopolitical circumstances.


Nicola Pierre
Nicola Pierre is Commissioner of Title and Land Court Judge in Guyana.
Article

Unwrapping the Effectiveness Test as a Measure of Legislative Quality

A Case Study of the Tuvalu Climate Change Resilience Act 2019

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2021
Keywords effectiveness test, legislative quality, drafting process, Tuvalu Climate Change Resilience Act 2019
Authors Laingane Italeli Talia
AbstractAuthor's information


Laingane Italeli Talia
Laingane Italeli Talia is Senior Crown Counsel, Attorney General’s Office of Tuvalu
Article

Access_open States of Emergency

Analysing Global Use of Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords coronavirus, emergency law, emergency powers, autocratization, democratic deconsolidation, state of emergency, rule of law, transparency, accountability, legislative scrutiny
Authors Joelle Grogan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The measures taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been among the most restrictive in contemporary history, and have raised concerns from the perspective of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Building on a study of the legal measures taken in response to pandemic in 74 countries, this article considers the central question of the use of power during an emergency: is it better or worse for democracy and the rule of law to declare an emergency or, instead, to rely on ordinary powers and legislative frameworks? The article then considers whether the use of powers (ordinary or emergency) in response to the pandemic emergency has ultimately been a cause, or catalyst of, further democratic deconsolidation. It concludes on a note of optimism: an emerging best practice of governmental response reliant on public trust bolstered by rationalized and transparent decision-making and the capacity to adapt, change and reform measures and policies.


Joelle Grogan
Dr. Joelle Grogan is Senior Lecturer in Law, Middlesex University London.
Article

Governments as Covid-19 Lawmakers in France, Italy and Spain

Continuity or Discontinuity

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Covid-19, emergency legislation, executive lawmaking, parliaments, decree-laws and ordinances
Authors Elena Griglio
AbstractAuthor's information

    Executive dominance in Covid-19 lawmaking has been a major trend worldwide. Governments have leveraged emergency prerogatives to boost their legislative powers, often sidelining the role of parliaments. The impact of executive lawmaking on fundamental liberties has been unprecedented. However, government’s capacity to exercise full legislative powers is not absolutely new to many European countries.
    This trend is analysed in the article comparing practices in the pandemic and in normal times, not specifically related to a state of emergency. To this end, three countries have been selected because of their constitutional clauses allotting lawmaking powers to the government even outside of emergency situations. This refers to the decree-laws in Italy and Spain and the ordonnances in France. The question addressed is whether there are relevant differences in the use made of these mechanisms during the pandemic.
    The results of this comparative analysis demonstrate that there is much continuity in the executive’s reliance on these mechanisms. However, discontinuity may be detected on the ground of the exceptional impact produced on constitutional rights and on the substantive values that legislation should protect. Therefore, from the perspective of the rollback of the emergency legislation, the role of parliaments, based on the core difference in the democratic status between lawmaking and legislation, turns out to be crucial.


Elena Griglio
Elena Griglio is Senior Parliamentary Official of the Italian Senate and Adjunct Professor at LUISS University, Rome.
Article

Does the Fight Against the Pandemic Risk Centralizing Power in Pakistan?

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords PTI government, 18th amendment, 1973 Constitution, lockdown, economic impact
Authors David A. Thirlby
AbstractAuthor's information

    When the pandemic struck Pakistan, there was a high-profile divergence between how the federal government and the provincial government of Sindh responded. This points to a tension between the need for a national approach to tackle the pandemic and the prerogative of the provinces to deal with health issues under its devolved powers. These powers were the result of the 18th amendment, which restored a parliamentary federal democracy. Power has also been decentralized from executive presidents to parliamentary forms of government. However, parliamentary systems centralize power within the executive: a trend which the pandemic has reinforced. The article will explore the various interplays although it is the economic landscape which will prove most challenging. Although the emergence of a national centralized approach to combat the pandemic points to a weakening of the devolution process and therefore the reasoning behind the 18th amendment, the situation is more complex which this article seeks to explore.


David A. Thirlby
David A. Thirlby is Senior Programme Manager Asia, Westminster Foundation for Democracy
Article

Patience, Ladies

Gender-Sensitive Parliamentary Responses in a Time of Crisis

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords gender sensitivity, parliament, responsiveness, COVID-19, democracy, women
Authors Sonia Palmieri and Sarah Childs
AbstractAuthor's information

    In early 2020, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous parliaments played their rightful democratic role by following the advice of health and economic experts and swiftly passing emergency legislation and relief packages. This was, in many countries, an attempt to reach an equilibrium between saving lives and saving economic livelihoods, on the understanding that both were in serious jeopardy. In the face of public health measures many parliaments also found themselves having to reform their own rules, procedures and practices. In both cases – policy interventions and institutional redesign – it appears that parliamentary responses to the Covid-19 situation were less commonly based on the advice of gender experts or informed by considerations of gender inequalities. Few, if any, emergency packages were designed following a systematic consideration of existing, deeply entrenched gender inequalities, despite continuous public analysis and commentary about the disproportionate gender impacts of the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns; and no parliaments instituted (temporary) rule changes that prioritized the voices of women parliamentarians or constituents. In this article, which draws on our work drafting the UN Women Covid-19 Parliamentary Primer & Checklist, we revisit the democratic case for gender-sensitive parliaments, highlighting their particular relevance to the 2020 pandemic. We introduce our model for gender-sensitive crisis responses across four key stages of the parliamentary process presented in the Primer – representation, deliberation, legislation and scrutiny – and offer an initial assessment of what transpired in the world’s parliaments based on an IPU survey. We suggest that if parliaments are to be gender-sensitive institutions in times of crisis, they must not only change how they do politics but also develop and sustain a robust political culture that values gender equality and an ethic of caring that supports new rules, procedures and practices that better redress institutional gender deficiencies.


Sonia Palmieri
Sonia Palmieri, Australian National University.

Sarah Childs
Sarah Childs, Royal Holloway, University of London.
Article

Building Legislative Frameworks

Domestication of the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords domestication, legislative processes, functionality, efficacy
Authors Tshepo Mokgothu
AbstractAuthor's information

    As the international financial framework develops it has brought with it dynamic national legislative reforms. The article establishes how the domestication of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations directly affects national legislative processes as the FATF mandate does not have due regard to national legislative drafting processes when setting up obligations for domestication. The article tests the FATF Recommendations against conventional legislative drafting processes and identifies that, the proposed structures created by the FAFT do not conform to traditional legislative drafting processes. Due regard to functionality and efficacy is foregone for compliance. It presents the experience of three countries which have domesticated the FATF Recommendations and proves that the speed at which compliance is required leads to entropic legislative drafting practices which affects harmonisation of national legislation.


Tshepo Mokgothu
Tshepo Mokgothu, LLB (University of Botswana), LLM (University of Kent) is a recipient of the Joint Master in Parliamentary Procedures and Legislative Drafting and a Senior Legislative Drafter at The Attorney General’s Chambers in Botswana.
Article

The ECB’s Independence and the Principle of Separation

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords ECB, Banking Supervision, Banking Supervision Centralization, Prudential Supervision, European Union, EU Law, Banking Union, Central Banking Independence, SSMR, SSMR
Authors Pamela Nika
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article addresses the question of whether the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) involvement in banking supervision is compatible with its independent status as provided by the European Union’s (EU’s) primary law, specifically with reference to the principle of separation between the ECB’s monetary policy and supervisory powers. It is found that the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Regulation provides the ECB with a set of prerequisites in pursuit of its supervisory objectives under a high level of independence. However, the article argues that the current EU regulatory framework poses risks to the overall independence of the ECB. In particular, the principle of separation, as one of the mechanisms aimed at safeguarding the ECB’s independence, is not fully achieved. In addition, the boundaries and application of macro-prudential operation of the ECB in both the SSM and European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) remain blurry and uncertain. The article concludes by suggesting that the only way to safeguard the independence of the ECB is by carefully revising the ECB’s competencies, which may require treaty amendment.


Pamela Nika
Dr Pamela Nika is a lecturer in Corporate and Finance Law at Brunel University London.
Article

Access_open Parliamentary Scrutiny of Law Reform in Albania

Bodies, Procedures and Methods

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Parliament of Albania, law reform, Standing Committees, European Integration, Council on the Legislation, National Council for European Integration, Committee on European Integration
Authors Dr. Oriola Sallavaci
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article throws light on the parliamentary scrutiny of law reform in Albania, which so far has not received sufficient attention in academic literature. The article provides a review of the bodies, procedures and mechanisms for the scrutiny of legal reform, as specified in the Constitution of Albania, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure and other specific statutes. Research on the activities of these bodies during the past three years, as reported by the official sources, throws light on the problematic aspects of their work and enables recommendations to be made which will lead to a more effective role of Parliament in legal reform. This is paramount considering the past few years of political instability in the country, at a time when Albanian’s European Integration is at stake


Dr. Oriola Sallavaci
Dr. Oriola Sallavaci is Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Essex, United Kingdom. Oriola holds, inter alia, an LLB (1999) and an LLM (2003) from the University of Tirana, Albania, where she taught law for over five years. She is a qualified Albanian advocate and an expert on Albanian law. An earlier version of this article was presented at the IALS Workshop ‘Parliamentary Scrutiny of Law Reform’, held at IALS, London, on 4 November 2019. The author wishes to thank Jonathan Teasdale and Enrico Albanesi for their comments on an earlier draft.
Article

Law Reform Bills in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords law reform, consolidation, statute law, parliament, Law Commission
Authors Andrew Makower and Liam Laurence Smyth
AbstractAuthor's information

    The officials responsible for the procedures for scrutiny of proposed legislation in the UK Parliament and for the accuracy and integrity of legislative text describe how the UK Parliament scrutinizes consolidation and law reform bills and the government’s law reform programme, test the proposition that law reform is impeded by a shortage of parliamentary time, and survey ways in which Parliament could encourage and facilitate such legislation.


Andrew Makower
Andrew Makower, Clerk of Legislation, House of Lords.

Liam Laurence Smyth
Liam Laurence Smyth, Clerk of Legislation, House of Commons.
Article

Re-examining the Relationship between Parliament and the Law Reform Commissions

An Australian Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords law reform commissions, legislative process, parliamentary scrutiny, Australia
Authors Jacinta Dharmananda
AbstractAuthor's information

    In Australia, statutory law reform commissions answer to parliament, albeit through a senior government minister. But once the commission has fulfilled its obligations to parliament, what are the obligations of parliament to scrutinize, or even to consider, the commission’s recommendations? Further, what are its obligations in relation to proposed legislation that contains law reform proposals? This article addresses those questions in an Australian context, with a focus on the generalist law reform commissions.


Jacinta Dharmananda
Senior Lecturer, Law School, University of Western Australia; PhD Candidate, College of Law, Australian National University. The research reflected in this article is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship. ORCID ID 0000-0001-5163-3340
Title

Parliamentary Follow-up of Law Commission Bills

An Irish Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords law reform, legislation, Ireland, drafting, parliament
Authors Ciarán Burke
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article seeks to present a brief outline of the various means through which the draft bills and recommendations drafted by the Law Reform Commission of Ireland and published in its reports are followed up by the Irish Parliament, the Oireachtas. The Commission’s position within the Irish legislative architecture is explained, as is the process through which bills become laws in Ireland. The Commission, it is noted, occupies an unusual role. Although there is no requirement for its publications to result in legislation, ultimately the lion’s share of its output is followed up on in the legislative process in one form or another, with its publications attracting the attention of both the government and opposition parties. The challenges and advantages presented by operating within a small jurisdiction are also outlined, while some thoughts are offered on the Commission’s future.


Ciarán Burke
Professor of International Law, Friedrich Schiller Universität, Jena, and former Director of Research at the Law Reform Commission of Ireland. The author would like to thank Alexandra Molitorisovà for her help in preparing this article.
Article

Gender and Language

A Public Law Perspective

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords gender language, drafting, language, coercion, linguistic policies
Authors Maria De Benedetto
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article adopts a public law perspective in order to focus on Gender-Fair Language (GFL) policies and drafting, by considering both language neutralization and language differentiation in some legal systems characterized by different languages.
    The article argues that the real problem is whether it is possible to coerce legislative and administrative language as a tool for policies. In fact, coercion of language produces administrative costs and side effects on freedoms (such as freedom of speech and freedom to teach); controls and sanctions are needed for enforcement; but, overall, language (as an institution) is not a proper object of regulation.


Maria De Benedetto
Full Professor, Roma Tre University, Roma, Italy.
Article

A Linguistic Insight into the Legislative Drafting of English-Speaking Jurisdictions

The Use of ‘Singular They’

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2020
Keywords gender neutrality, ‘singular they’, linguistic insight, legislative drafting, English-language jurisdictions
Authors Giulia Adriana Pennisi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Gender specificity in legislation started being questioned in the late 20th century, and the need to reform the way in which laws have been written for more than one-hundred years has been particularly evident in English-language jurisdictions. In the 1990s and 2000s, the adoption of a plain English style forced legislative drafters to avoid sentences of undue length, superfluous definitions, repeated words and gender specificity with the aim of achieving clarity and minimizing ambiguity.
    Experts in the legal field have suggested reorganizing sentences, avoiding male pronouns, repeating the noun in place of the pronoun, replacing a nominalization with a verb form, resorting to ‘the singular they’. This article gives a linguistic insight into the use of ‘singular they’ in English, beginning with a historical background and going on to assess the impact of its use in the primary legislation issued in a selection of English-language jurisdictions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, the US) in the last decade (2008-2018). Given the environment of legislative drafting techniques, where considerable reliance on precedent is inevitable, proposals to change legislative language may produce interesting results in different jurisdictions.


Giulia Adriana Pennisi
Associate Professor (field of research, English Language and Translation) at the University of Palermo, Department of Political Science and International Relations; Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Sir William Dale Centre, University of London.
Article

Law Reform in Ireland

Implementation and Independence of Law Reform Commission

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords law reform, statute law revision, better regulation, access to legislation, lawyer’s law
Authors Edward Donelan
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the origins and work of the Law Reform Commission in Ireland. The model follows that in Common Law countries. Its work includes both substantive law reform and statute law revision (weeding out spent or unused statutes and undertaking consolidation or other work to make statute law more accessible.) The work of the Commission focuses on ‘lawyers’ law’ and, therefore, avoids subjects that could be politically controversial. Consequentially, the bulk of its recommendations are accepted and translated into legislation.


Edward Donelan
Edward Donelan, PhD, M.A., Barrister-at-Law (Kings Inns, Dublin, Middle Temple, London), Dip. Eur. Law, Dip. Arb. Better Regulation and Legislative Drafting Expert, currently working on projects with the Attorney General in Botswana to develop a programme of law reform for the newly established Law Reform Unit in the Chambers of the Attorney General.
Article

The New Regulation Governing AIR, VIR and Consultation

A Further Step Forward Towards ‘Better Regulation’ in Italy

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords regulation, RIA, regulatory impact analysis, impact assessment, evaluation, consultation
Authors Victor Chimienti
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the scope and contents of the newly adopted regulation governing regulatory impact analysis (RIA) and ex post evaluation of regulation (ExPER) in the Italian legal system. The article shows that this regulation has the potential to improve regulatory governance in Italy. Not only does it introduce innovations designed to increase transparency and participation, especially through strengthened consultation and communication mechanisms, but it also aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of regulatory analysis and evaluation activities. How the new regulation will be applied in practice, however, remains to be seen. In the meantime, the new set of rules are a welcome addition to Italy’s Better Regulation policy.


Victor Chimienti
Victor Chimienti is an international and EU lawyer currently working as a free-lance consultant on donor funded projects. In 1997, he graduated in Law with full marks at the University of Bari “Aldo Moro” (Italy), and, in 2006, obtained his Ph.D in International and EU Law from the same university. Meanwhile, he had attended post-graduate legal studies at LUISS University in Rome, Italy, specialising in international and EC business law. Dr. Chimienti has also served as Lecturer in International and Trade Law at the University of Foggia, Italy, and as Research Scholar in International & Comparative Law at the University of Michigan, USA. Among others, he specialises in Better Regulation tools and procedures, such as Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), Ex-Post Evaluation of Legislation, Monitoring, and Public Consultation.
Article

Law Reform and the Executive

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2019
Keywords law reform, parliamentary counsel, legislative drafting, Australia, Victoria
Authors Adam Bushby
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article comments on the process of law reform in Australia from the perspective of a legislative drafter. After a description of the Australian political and parliamentary system and a discussion of the role of the legislative drafter, a brief summary of the formal law reform processes in Australia is provided, including a discussion of how legislative drafting offices participate in the law reform process. Participation includes the drafting of Bills giving effect to law reform proposals based on drafting instructions approved by Cabinet, providing for the undertaking of statutory reviews, as well as the remaking of legislation. It is the role of the legislative drafter to assist the government by turning policy into legislation, so the focus here is on the practical implementation of law reform rather than the independence of law reform bodies.


Adam Bushby
Senior Parliamentary Counsel, Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria, Australia. This article reflects the opinions of the author only, and should not be taken as representing the stance of the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Victoria, Australia. I would, of course, welcome any feedback from anyone with an interest in law reform.
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