Wednesday, 27 April 2011
The Legislative Process
The system is well explained on Parliament's website. This is an interactive guide, and it is worth watching the short videos. Use this as a tool to enable you to confidently explain what the various stages in the passage of a bill are - and what purpose each stage serves.
Criticisms of the legislative process have been considered in a number of reports - and some have been acted upon. I would recommend reading (at the very least, the introductions to)
The Modernisation Committee's 2006 Report on "The Legislative Process"
The Better Government Initiative - Report on Reforming Parliament and the Government
The Hansard Society's discussion paper on Law in the Making
In summary criticisms that are often made include
- the language used in bills is difficult to understand - and amendments can make it worse
- there is insufficient pre-legislative scrutiny
- changes are made in haste
- the process is dominated by the Executive
- there is a lack of meaningful debate
- insufficient scrutiny during the legislative process - and MPs may be reliant upon lobbying groups for
- the workings of particular pieces of legislation are not reviewed (lack of post-legislative scrutiny)