LGST 553
Legislative Structure, Style and Limits (OCW)


LGST 553
Legislative Structure, Style and Limits (OCW)

Study Materials

Module 1: Section 2

Section Preview

How should we organise a legislative text?

In this Section, we explore in greater detail one of the stages in preparing legislation that should precede composition—preparing an outline for a legislative text. An outline should be taken as the bridge between analysis of the legislative proposals and the composition of the legislative provisions.

You may be tempted to pass over this stage when drafting legislation—many legislative counsel do. But if properly undertaken it can greatly ease your task of composing the individual provisions, as you will have a much clearer view of where you are going, what you need to provide and how those rules are to relate to each other. In short, it prepares the ground for structuring the provisions in the ways you worked with in Section 1.

Any car driver will tell you that a long journey to an unfamiliar destination through unknown country needs a good map and a prepared route. In designing an outline for a legislative text, see your task as that of providing a map and a route for your future travel through the drafting process. The shorter the text (and the journey), the easier the task.

Section Objective

By the end of this Section, you should be able to prepare an outline for a short legislative text.

Essential Questions

This Section is divided into three subsections organised in terms of the following questions:

  1. General Considerations
    • Why prepare an outline before composing the detailed provisions?
    • What advantages does an outline provide?
    • How final is an outline?
  2. Preparing and Outline
    • What do we need to start?
    • How do we arrive at suitable groupings?
    • How do we allocate individual items to their appropriate group?
    • How do we order the items in the groups and the groups themselves?
    • What should the outline look like when it is completed?
  3. Factors Influencing an Outline for a Bill
    • How are formal and technical provisions arranged?
    • How are provisions grouped together?
    • How is subsidiary legislation used?
    • How are amending Acts treated?
    • How are distinct subject-matters dealt with?

Studying this Section

This Section is short, and the matters discussed in subsection 1 are not difficult to grasp. However, subsection 2, which sets out guidelines for organising a legislative text by drawing up an outline, calls for close attention. You may have initial problems with the basic principles of classification that underlie this part. Look closely at the examples; they are designed to illustrate the theoretical points by practical examples. You may need to go over the ground more than once before you are confident about the approaches recommended.

Exercises are provided to enable you to test whether you have grasped the principles involved in this Section. Use these to test whether you have mastered the approach suggested.

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