LGST 555
Drafting Preliminary, Amending, and Final Provisions (OCW)


LGST 555
Drafting Preliminary, Amending, and Final Provisions (OCW)

Study Materials

Module 1: Section 4

Section 4 Preview

How do we draft interpretation provisions?

Legislative counsel in legal systems based on the parliamentary model make great use of interpretation provisions when drafting both primary and subsidiary legislation. It is standard practice to include definitions and other provisions that explain how expressions and terms used in legislation are to be construed.  Many of the benefits of interpretation legislation that were mentioned in LGST 553, Module 2, Section 2—How do we work with Interpretation Acts? can be gained by these devices. They may also be helpful in solving certain problems facing the legislative counsel. Mastering the techniques of drafting them is both important and necessary. If sensibly and correctly used, they can materially improve legislation, not least because they may clarify the meaning of substantive provisions.

Frequent reference is made throughout this section to the model Interpretation Act in the Resource Materials. You should keep it handy when you are working with this Section.

Section Objectives

The objective of this Section is to enable you to draft appropriate definitions and other interpretive rules in legislation when and where they are needed or helpful.

Essential Questions

This Section is divided into six subsections that consider in detail the drafting of interpretive provisions in terms of the following questions:

  1. General Considerations
    • What are interpretation provisions?
    • What is the difference between a definition and an interpretive rule?
    • Where should interpretation provisions be placed?
    • Do interpretation provisions have any shortcomings?
  2. Definitions Generally
    • What purposes do definitions serve?
    • What is the relationship between statutory definitions and dictionary meanings?
    • How should definitions be drafted?
  3. Labelling Definitions
    • When should labelling definitions drafted?
    • How should they be drafted?
  4. Stipulating Definitions
    • When should stipulating definitions be drafted?
    • How should they be drafted?
    • What should be considered in drafting them?
    • What pitfalls are there?
  5. Syntax of Definitions
    • What grammatical considerations should be borne in mind?
  6. Interpretive Rules
    • When should interpretive rules be used?
    • How should interpretive rules be drafted?
  7. Hints and Checks
    • What practical points should we bear in mind?
    • What final checks should we make?

Studying this Section

Your aim is to be able to distinguish the different uses of definitions and interpretive rules, and be familiar with the effect that those uses have upon the way you must draft. This Section has a considerable practical emphasis through  the exercises it includes. It is essential to take the time to do them.


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