How Drafters Should Fulfill Their Responsibilities
Again, we shall return to this theme throughout the Course, as we suggest the standards and procedures which contribute to the good drafting practice. For our present purposes, it is sufficient to suggest 7 precepts (guiding principles) to bear in mind.
Seven precepts for Legislative Counsel
- You owe duties to:your client your Government (who is your employer) but also to: your profession as a lawyer and Legislative Counsel the statute book the law and its underlying values.
- Take nothing for granted: test others’ proposals with your own analysis.
- Do not reject proposals that appear unacceptable; find and offer a better way forward.
- Be prepared to listen and question and accept valid criticism and helpful suggestions.
- Keep at it but sleep on it. (Concentrate fully on the task, but leave time for further reflection).
- Only your best will do, but perfection is rarely possible in the time available.
- Remember the lessons of experience; keep your best precedents but don’t try to memorize the details of your earlier work.
In conclusion, legislative drafting is about writing the text of a document that is to be made into legislation through some formal legal procedure. Legislation is not prepared in isolation. It has to fit into the existing body of laws (corpus juris) of the society.
In this Unit, you have been introduced to a range of preliminary issues that describe the nature of legislative drafting and, in broad terms, your duties and responsibilities as Legislative Counsel. You should now have an overview of the subject. It should provide a framework, though a rather open-textured one, into which you can begin to place your own knowledge and experience of what legislative drafting is and should be about.
You should now be able to explain what legislative drafting entails and how it is typically provided in Nigeria; and also describe the basic responsibilities of Legislative Counsel and how these can be fulfilled.