Good practice considerations in legislation drafting
Produced in partnership with Alison Gorlov of Winckworth Sherwood
Good practice considerations in legislation drafting

The following Public Law practice note Produced in partnership with Alison Gorlov of Winckworth Sherwood provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Good practice considerations in legislation drafting
  • Getting started
  • Format of legislation
  • Compatibility with the Human Rights Act 1998 and public sector equality duty
  • The drafter’s role
  • A drafting method
  • Logic, clarity and structure
  • Explaining the draft
  • Drafting and the legislative process

In last 10 years annual number of statutory instruments passed grew from 71 to 3,286 statutory instruments, demonstrating the increasing codification of UK law and the inexorable move towards secondary legislation.

Getting started

The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel’s Drafting Guidance is an invaluable reference tool, particularly for primary legislation. As well as providing practical guidance through the drafting and the legislative process, it explains the thinking behind modern drafting techniques. This guidance covers:

  1. the general drafting principle of clarity

  2. specific language related points such as gender neutrality

  3. commonly used drafting techniques

  4. drafting repeals, amendments and modifications of existing enactments

  5. subordinate legislation

  6. expressing time periods

  7. statutory corporations and bodies corporate

  8. final provisions of a Bill

For more information on how to engage Parliamentary Counsel see Working with Parliamentary Counsel.

Lawyers drafting SIs should equip themselves with Statutory Instrument Practice produced by Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI). Designed for civil servants and others concerned with the preparation and making of statutory instruments (SIs), it is a detailed guide to SI preparation and procedure and includes templates and drafting examples. The National Assembly for Wales publishes a largely procedural manual and for Scottish statutory instruments there is a separate Practice Manual prepared by the Scottish Government.

The statutory rule book for legislation is the Interpretation Act 1978 (IA 1978), in particular the main principles of the Act (IA 1978, ss

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