LGST 551
Introduction to Legislative Drafting (OCW)


LGST 551
Introduction to Legislative Drafting (OCW)

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Study Materials

Module 2 - Writing Legislative Sentences: Preview

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These Sections lay the foundations of legislative drafting skills. They are concerned with grammar and how to write individual legislative sentences.

In Module 1, Section 3 (Why do we draft as we do in parliamentary systems?) we saw that drafting practice in parliamentary jurisdictions tends to follow similar conventions that have their origins in 19th century English practice. Also in that Section, we considered the objectives that legislative counsel should have in mind in drafting legislation.

In these Sections, we begin with a review of grammar terminology and then concentrate on how to select and express individual sentence components in order to produce legislative sentences that are consistent with those conventions. Particular attention is paid to sound legislative syntax, including punctuation, and how to avoid errors and poor practices in expression.

Objectives of this Module

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

  • apply the basic principles of legislative syntax and expression for writing legislative sentences;
  • comply with standard drafting conventions when punctuating legislative sentences;
  • compose simple legislative sentences that are unambiguous and free from common errors of expression;
  • convert simple instructions into legislative sentences that are comprehensive and clear;
  • apply a range of stylistic devices in composing legislation that will contribute to its effectiveness and clarity.

Studying this Module

There are five Sections in this Module:

  1. What do we need to know about grammar?
  2. What are the basics of writing legislative sentences?
  3. How do we put together the components of legislative sentences?
  4. How do we punctuate legislation?
  5. What can go wrong in legislative expression?

These Materials are premised on the assumption that you thoroughly master these Sections. They contain many new ideas that will require close concentration. Complete each Section before moving to the next.

These Sections are not distinct; treat them as throwing light on each other and be prepared to look back at matters already considered to see how the Sections inter-relate.

We have included a larger number of examples and exercises to bring out features of central importance.

Last modified: Friday, 3 October 2014, 5:45 PM MDT