Tuesday, 8 January 2008
The quality of legislation in the United Kingdom has often been criticised. One of the most important developments in recent years has been greater consultation before bills are introduced into parliament. 'White Papers' and 'Green Papers' have long been a part of the pre-legislative process - but the most exciting development has come in the last few years with 'draft bills' being considered by parliamentary committees.
The introduction of pre-legislative scrutiny is generally acknowledged to be one of the most successful innovations in the legislative process in recent years. The Modernisation Committee reported
"During the second reading of the Charities Bill [Lords], several Members praised the pre-legislative process. One of the Chairmen of the Joint Committee which considered the Bill in draft said, 'I remain a real convert to the pre-legislative process. ... That process is far less partisan and far more open to analysis and debate, and, as a consequence, makes, where it is possible, for far better law. Indeed, I should like to see it go much further in this House and in the other place'"
The House of Commons Library has published an interesting and useful paper on pre-legislative scrutiny. It is available at http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/notes/snpc-02822.pdf