BOOK REVIEW: Introduction to legislative drafting and the drafting process

By Prof. Abiodun Amuda-Kannike (SAN) Provost, College of Law, Kwara State University

 

INTRODUCTION:

The book titled “introduction to legislative drafting and the drafting process” is a unique book written by two important Nigerians namely; Dr. Tonye Clinton Jaja, Senior Research Fellow, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NIDS) Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, F.C.T, Nigeria and Mrs. Joy Okungbowa Adesina, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Law Lecturer, University of Benin/NILDS, Masters in Legislative Drafting Programme.

BOOK REVIEW PROPER

The Authors in dealing with this book for easy understanding dealt with the issue of showing that the modules are 13 in numbers and each modules are to be studied within one week.[1]

The Authors also did well in showing to the reading public what the study materials are, there is the tutored marked assignments, (TMA’S), (SAQS), final examinations, final drafting project/dissertation and resource materials. There is no doubt that in going through this introductory aspect of the book, one would have known a lot about this book and its practical nature, especially as, a reader on his or her own can learn about legislative drafting and drafting process even when no facilitators is around him or her.

From pages 8-13, the reader is shown how to plan the work in understanding the book and how to be successful in the study. The reader is shown how to handle tutored marked assignments and what E-tutors and course discussion entails. No wonder, it has been said in the book that tutored marked assign will provide the reader with an opportunity to try out the knowledge and skills that should have been acquired at the stages of learning, such as projects and review pages, while the role of the E-tutor is to bring the discussion and questions from the “course discussion” forum to the attention of the course facilitator within 48 hours and equally to provide feedback from the course facilitator to the students within 48 hours.[2]

It is to be noted that the Authors as it is usually the case for most successful Authors, gave a succinct and unique definition if legislative drafting which they allow the reader to appreciate. This can be appreciated from pages 15 – 19 of the book. They defined legislative drafting as the process of constructing a text of legislation. That legislative drafting is not the same as legal drafting. This distinguishing feature between legislative drafting and legal drafting is very important because, there is always the confusion as if the two are the same although they are similar in nature. The Authors in doing great work in this book, stated that legislative drafting process is divided into five stages as follows;[3]

  1. Understanding the proposal
  2. Analysing the proposal
  3. Designing the law
  4. Composing and developing the draft
  5. Verifying the draft

The above is highlighted by the Authors to show how important and unique Professional legislative drafters are especially as it involves writing in a manner that brings about a good legislation.

The Authors in order to show a touch of class on pages 19 – 20 shows the importance of legislative drafting, while on pages 20 – 23, there is a unique explanation as to what the analogy of legislative drafters as midwives of positive change within the society connotes, and as you get to page 23 is the “tutor marked assignment (T.M.A)”.

Module 2 commenced from pages 24 – 32 with fantastic description of “theoretical and conceptual framework” of legislative drafting and as usual with the book, there is also the tutored marked assignment. This module is unique because in every book, research or projects, there is the need to show in the work, the “theoretical and conceptual framework”.

Module 3, is another important part of the book starting from pages 32 – 48 divided into units and the whole essence of “historical development of legislative drafting”. The tutor marked assignment (T.M.A) is not left out of this module also for the reader to be able to assess his ability of understanding this part of the book.[4]

Looking at Module 4, the Authors equally dealt with the roles and responsibilities of legislative drafters as could be seen from pages 48 – 59 where the footnotes contained therein shows that the Authors did enormous work. However, when the Authors are to produce the second edition, it is suggested that the work ought to contain more footnotes. The module also contains the tutor marked assignment (T.M.A).

Module 5 dealt with pages 59 – 68 showing principal characteristics of commonwealth legislative drafting. This shows that the Authors added international touch to this book. What it connote is that the Authors are able to show the expected standard expected to fall in line with the commonwealth legislative drafting. The module is also clothed with tutor – marked assignment (T.M.A).

Module 6, has to do with writing legislation, the Authors give details as to how to write legislation from pages 68 – 88 of the book and it has units 1 – 8 including questions/tutored marked assignment with references for further readings. This shows that a lot of research forms substantial part of the book.

Module 7 gives insight into various types of legislative instruments commencing from pages 83 – 87 of the book. Just as it was with respect to module 6, this module also contained units 1 – 4 with practical examples of interpretation of draft legislation and various types of subsidiary legislation including tutor marked assignment.

Module 8, dealt with classification of statutes. This module is divided into unit 1 on statutes in common use, unit 2, terms and functions of the characteristic features of a bill, unit 3 is on conventional arrangement of the contents of a bill while unit 4 is about how legislative instruments differ. This module is important because for any good legislative drafter, the basic knowledge of how to classify various statutes is very essentials in order to do a good job. This module runs through pages 88 – 102 which the Authors crowned their efforts with the usual tutored marked assignment.

It should be understood that on page 88 of the book, it ought to be written Module 8 and not units 8. On page 102 also, unit 8 Tutor Marked Assignment should be “Module 8 Tutor Marked Assignment”.

Module 9 can be seen from pages 103 – 108 which has to do with some modern practices and innovations in legislative drafting. There are examples of innovations in legislative drafting in Nigeria. The Authors for better understanding produced diagrams on “Bill and Motion Drafting”. There also exit tutor marked assignment.

It should be understood that also on page 108, unit 9 should read Module 9 and not unit 8. While “unit 9 Tutor Marked Assignment” should and ought to be “module 9 Tutor Marked Assignment”.

The Authors did well in Module 10 by showing the reading public that guide to drafting of resolutions and notices. This particular issue dwell more on legislative documents. Types of resolutions were looked at, the module commenced from 109 – 120. The Tutor Marked Assignment is also provided for. Here also, unit 10A ought to be module 10 on page 109 and on page 120 module 11 tutor marked assignment ought to be “module 10 – tutor marked assignment”.

In relation to module 11, it commenced from pages 122 – 140, and the issue dealt with the importance of grammar, it contains unit 1 – unit 6, and Appendixes 1 and 2. There are various examples cited by the Authors. Those examples expantiated the basis of the module herein. The tutored marked assignment can be clearly shown. However, on page 122, unit 11 ought to now read “module 11” while tutor marked assignment on page 139 should read “module 11 tutor marked assignment”.

The Authors in this book dealt with “drafting office” in module 12, as could be seen clearly commencing from pages 142 – 148. The importance of a drafting office, requirements of a drafting office, organising a drafting office, current drafting office structure in Nigeria, drafting instructions and references vis-à-vis tutor marked assignment were adequately provided for. This is a wonderful work that you can hardly see in most book of this nature.

However on page 142, unit 12 ought to change to Module 12 while on page 147, unit 12 tutor marked assignment should read “Module 12 tutor marked assignment”.

Module 13 was carefully dealt with by the Authors who handled the topic “other functions of legislative drafters – legal research and application of ICT in legislative drafting projects.” This topic commenced from page 149 – 153 of the book. The Authors did well in looking at the issue of ICT in legislative drafting and legal research. The normal tutor marked assignment can be seen in this module which makes it more unique.

Also, on page 149, instead of Module 13, it was written unit 13, and on page 153, unit 13 tutor marked assignment should read “Module 13 Tutor Marked Assignment”.

The Authors commenced part B with the topic of “the drafting process which commenced from pages 154 – 268”. It contains the following well researched analysis among others.

  1. Essential background material and information about legislative process in Nigeria.
  2. Course contents on legislative process.
  3. Role of course facilitator.
  4. How to study course materials.
  5. Recommended study schedule.
  6. Course materials.
  7. Tutor Marked Assignments.
  8. Legislative proposal/initiation.
  9. Importance of consultation on pages 212 – 213.
  10. How drafting instructions are provided pages 214- 217.
  11. The process of enacting a bill.
  12. Stages in preparation of legislation.
  13. Subsidiary and delegated legislation.
  14. Sources of bill.
  15. Procedure for passage of money/Appropriation Bills.
  16. Procedure for conducting plenary session.
  17. What gazette is all about.

CONCLUSION

Generally speaking the book is recommended for every reading member of the public, academicians, researchers and legislatures.

The Authors have done very well in producing this book and the little mistakes pointed out must have been “printer’s devil” which could be found in the best book such as this one.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Anyone who can give himself 13 weeks of thorough study would understand legislative drafting and the drafting process better.

[2] The interrelationship between the course facilitator and the learner/reader is of a high level in this regard making the book a great asset for everyone.

[3] The Authors cited the work of G. Thornton, Legislative Drafting 4th Edition (London Butter Worths) (1996) P. 128

[4] The Authors cited the work of Ephiphany Azinge, Law making under regimes – The Nigerian Experience (Benin City: Oliz Publishers, 1994)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here