Parliament should be more assertive in the face of poorly prepared legislation – and a new Legislative Standards Committee is needed.
Laws are the essential threads that bind together our society, providing the framework within which our democratic system operates and mediation relations between each of us as citizens. Yet whether the audience is parliamentarians who make the law, judges who have to apply it, or the public who must comply with it, it is not difficult to find vocal critics of the quality of legislation and the process by which our laws are made today.
The quality of law is ultimately shaped by the scrutiny it receives in Parliament. But the tidal wave of often hastily prepared, deficient legislation that Parliament has been asked to scrutinise over the last decade and more has severely stretched the capacity of parliamentarians to perform their constitutional function effectively.
Making Better Law, a new study by the Hansard Society, examines legislative process from policy to Act of Parliament, including consultation, drafting and scrutiny procedures. It analyses the political, procedural and cultural factors that together help determine the quality of the UK statute book. It diagnoses the causes and consequences of deficient law and sets out a comprehensive package of reform recommendations for Government and Parliament to improve the quality of law-making in the future.
Purchase: To buy a copy of Making Better Law, please visit the Houses of Parliament shop.
The Hansard Society is grateful to the Nuffield Foundation for generously supporting this publication. We would also like to thank all the speakers, discussants and attendees at the Making Better Law seminars in 2009 for their contributions and analysis that helped inform this work.
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