LGST 551
Introduction to Legislative Drafting (OCW)


LGST 551
Introduction to Legislative Drafting (OCW)

Study Materials

Module 2: Section 3

Section Preview

In this Section we look in detail at ways of selecting and putting together the components of legislative sentences, building on the first principles outlined in the Module 1, Section 3 – Why do we draft as we do in parliamentary systems? We look at the three main components found in legislative sentences: the principal subject, the principal predicate and various kinds of sentence modifiers. The combination of these components produces the legislative sentence.

Section Objectives

By the end of this Section, you should be able to do the following:

  • apply the basic principles of legislative syntax and expression to the writing of legislative sentences;
  • select, compose and combine the components of simple legislative sentences.

Essential Questions

This Section is divided into three subsections. Each one is organised in terms of a series of questions:

    • How do we select the grammatical subject of the sentence?
    • How do we decide which legal person is to be the grammatical subject?
    • How should the principal subject be described?
    • How do we choose the subject of a declaratory sentence?
    • How do we decide on the principal predicate?
    • How should we write the principal predicate?
    • How should we select the appropriate verb for the principal predicate?
    • Do we need an auxiliary in every principal predicate?
    • How do we choose the appropriate auxiliary?
    • How should we particularise predicates?
    • How should we write context clauses?

Studying this Section

The sentence components are treated separately to make their study easier. Of course, in writing a particular sentence, you cannot separate these features as your decision in relation to one necessarily influences your decisions on the others. You may find it easier to break your study at the end of each subsection. If you do, remind yourself quickly of what you have learned in the earlier subsection before starting on the next.

You will learn a good deal by careful study of the examples. Make sure that you understand precisely how they illustrate the point made in the accompanying text. This Section contains a large number of exercises. Time spent both on completing them and then evaluating the suggested answers will contribute to your understanding of and ability to use the particular drafting techniques. 

This is one of the most important sections in the Materials. Almost everything learned here is called into use when drafting legislation. Drafting legislation is made easier by having a sound grasp of the approaches and techniques examined. It will also provide an opportunity to make them part of your drafting routine. You should try to make yourself thoroughly conversant with every item and to have a clear understanding of what is called for.

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