Legislative drafters critical for rule of law

The work of legislative drafters in the Pacific region is critical in upholding and maintaining the rule of law.

Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, emphasised the important role of legislative drafters when opening the 3rd meeting of the Pacific Legislative Drafters’ Technical Forum (Drafters’ Forum) on Monday 23 July 2012 at the Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.

The meeting was attended by parliamentary counsels, senior legislative drafters, solicitors general, and other senior government lawyers from Forum Member countries. Also in attendance were representatives of national, regional and international organisations that provide assistance to Forum Island Countries in relation to legislative drafting and law reform.

“The Forum Secretariat’s interest and engagement with efforts to develop and improve the provision and capacity of legislative drafting in the region is long-standing. What you do is critical in the maintenance of the rule of law, in enabling governments to develop the legislation necessary to give legal effect to national policies as well as commitments under regional and international treaties,” Mr Slade told the participants of the Drafters’ Forum.

“The importance of Forum Island Countries having access to high quality legislative drafting services is of the first order of priorities, and needs constantly to be highlighted.”

In opening the meeting, Mr Slade encouraged the participants to utilise the meeting of the Drafters’ Forum to raise the profile of legislative drafters and to develop comprehensive and ongoing strategies and activities to secure the rightful place of legislative drafters in Pacific national administrations. Mr Slade also acknowledged the continued commitment of the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Australian and New Zealand Governments in supporting the development of legislative drafting services in Forum Island Countries.

During the three-day meeting, participants shared information about their countries’ respective approaches to, and experiences of, providing legislative drafting services to their governments. Participants also considered the various forms of assistance that were available from national, regional and international organisations in relation to legislative drafting and law reform.

To further the goal of Forum Island Countries having ready access to high quality legislative drafting services, participants at the Drafters’ Forum developed a regional Action Plan, which includes proposals to: review legislative drafting courses provided in the region; develop common standards for national legislative drafters; recommend improved terms and conditions of employment for legislative drafters; pursue advanced and specialised legislative drafting training; and develop processes for the management and quality control of legislation drafted by consultants.

The 3rd meeting of the Drafters’ Forum concluded on Wednesday 25 July 2012.

ENDS.

For media enquiries, contact Mr Johnson Honimae, the Forum Secretariat’s Media Officer on phone: 679 331 2600 or email: johnsonh@forumsec.org.fj