Legislative Drafter Plays A Vital Role

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Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, addressing the opening of the CARICOM Legislative Drafting Seminar. At right is Britain’s High Commissioner to Barbados, Paul Brummell. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

This country’s Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, today told participants attending a CARICOM Legislative Drafting seminar that much thought, care and research always went into drafting legislation to reflect the policy conceived by a country’s executive branch.

He explained that the basic function of a legislative drafter was to "translate the policy conceived by the Executive into legally effective, clearly expressed, implementable legislation."

Mr. Brathwaite told those gathered that "the legislative drafter is like an architect who tries to draft it in such a way as to achieve the objectives of the Executive, without breaching our most fundamental principles as enshrined by our Constitutions, while fitting it within the tapestry of the existing law."

"We must recognise that the roles fulfilled by the drafter are critical to the production of clearly articulated, implementable legislation," he said, while adding that it was important not to under develop our legislative drafting departments as we must endeavour to provide the necessary resources for such departments to function by providing training opportunities.

Expressing the view that the legislative drafter is also an advisor, the Attorney General pointed out that he or she must discharge his/her duty as an attorney-at-law by informing pilot Ministries of any legal issues which would arise out of any policy proposal, particularly those which contravened the principles stated in our Constitutions.

He further added that legislative drafters were often requested to provide advice on statutory interpretations as well as anticipate the effect that new or amending legislation would have on the existing canon of legislation and thus finding ingenious ways of resolving various problems and challenges.

Mr. Brathwaite emphasised: "He or she is the guardian of the cannon of statutes, in that they must anticipate and understand how the courts deal with legal issues, so that the legislation is drafted in such a way that it would be as far as is practicable immune from challenge."

The three-day meeting which is taking place at Amaryllis Hotel, officially ends this Wednesday, August 24.

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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