Postgraduate study in the IALS Library

Legislative Drafting Course

The Legislative Drafting Course was directed by Sir William Dale until 1999. Since 1999 the Course Director is Professor Helen Xanthaki, the Academic Director of the Centre and Senior Lecturer, University of London. The Course is taught by prominent members of the drafting and academic professions over a period of four weeks of intensive daily lectures and tutorials/seminars.

Picture of Legislative Drafting course of 1999
Class attending the last course directed by Sir William Dale in 1999.
In bottom row from left to right: Claire Ekins, George Harre, Sir William Dale,
Prof. Helen Xanthaki (current Course Director).

A good indication of the Course's excellence has been the growing numbers of students, mainly from Commonwealth countries. During the thirty years since the Course has been in existence, it has not been found necessary to make any major changes. However, recent developments in teaching standards applicable to all University courses and recent developments in the field of drafting have made some change in the course necessary.

The Course now includes some theoretical examination of the legal and political framework of legislative drafting in addition to, rather than instead of, the core of practical issues examined in the course so far. The syllabus is determined before the beginning of each course and is distributed to all students. Course materials (lecture hand-outstutorial, drafting exercises and extracts of the main reading materials covering each topic) are also available. The curriculum is devised in a way which allows students first to familiarise themselves with the basic concepts of drafting from a theoretical point of view so as to enable them when they subsequently come into contact with professional drafters to understand the practical aspects of drafting and specific types of legislative texts.

Class of 2013 - Legislative Drafting Course
Class 2013

Moreover, in view of the international lack of training courses on drafting EU legal texts and other international agreements, such topics have been added to the curriculum. Insofar as drafting exercises are concerned, these are marked by the lecturers and returned to the students with feedback on their progress, so as to allow students to learn from past mistakes and gain an informed opinion as to their progress in the course. It also enables eligibility for postgraduate degrees within the Centre.

Last but not least, course and lecturers' evaluation forms are distributed to students at the end of the teaching. This allows the Director to make an informed choice on future guest lecturers and topics. As required by the University teaching standards, an annual report on the course, including all of the above, is kept in the Centre for the purpose of quality teaching inspections.

In order to facilitate course participants, governments and sponsors, it is possible to arrange for the payment of a single sum including tuition fees, accommodation, breakfast and evening meals at the University of London Intercollegiate Halls of Residence. This has been a popular option with many participants in view of the central location of the halls of residence, their proximity to the IALS and their reasonable rates. It must be noted that the halls of residence cater mainly for students and are, therefore, spartan but comfortable. Participants requiring hotel standard accommodation must make their own arrangements. Click here for information on accomodation at the University of London and Short Term Housing.

Comments from the Class of 2011

  • "I enjoyed every moment here. The course opened my eyes to some grey areas in my drafting. It offered me the opportunity to network with drafters in different jurisdictions. I wish I had the opportunity much earlier"
  • "I have learned a lot and can take any instruction(s) to draft"
  • "In summary I had a blast! I loved everything about the course...and I am grateful for this rare opportunity away from work to focus full-time on the course. It was very humbling and an honour to be lectured by the different academics and professionals with so much expertise and knowledge. Helen and Constantin were awesome"

Comments from the Class of 2012

  • "Attending this course is very interesting and helps me gain new knowledge of drafting skills and techniques. I have learnt a lot from the presentations made... Job well done!"
  • "Though I work with a central bank, my participation in this course has been of great encouragement in terms of performing my duties... The faculty at the Institute have greatly encouraged me and ... they have greatly empowered me in terms of acquiring my skills... Thank you so much Helen and the Team!"
  • "This course really gave me an insight into the workings of drafting, especially the hows and they whys of drafting"
  • "The lecturers are awesome! They really know what they are doing"
  • "This course teaches a lot. It is worthwhile taking this course because it is equally relevant to both inexperienced and seasonal drafters. Job well done!"

Comments from the Class of 2013

  • "The course provides an in-depth understanding of legislative drafting and legislation in the wider context. The course is a good mix of lectures, visits and workshops which are informative as well as stimulating. It updated me with the current drafting trends and also the arguments for and against the trends. Many thanks to Professor Helen Xanthaki and her colleagues for their efforts and passions in sharing with us their knowledge and experience in legislative drafting. I enjoyed the course and will definitely continue the learning process it ignited"
  • "The course has been informative and rich of materials, and new insights. The organisation of study visits added beauty to the course as practical experiences from the real actors was fantastic"
  • "This is a great course! It's not just about how we actually draft a provision in the legislation but the professors and guest speakers inspire us to think about the whole legislative process from the beginning to the end. The course encouraged me to think deeper and outside the box. Thank you Helen and Constantin for your great efforts!"
  • "I've learnt a lot by attending this course. The lecturers are very good and we are very much encouraged to participate. Hope to see this programme continue in the future for the benefits of others as well."
  • "The course is well designed as it gives one fresh perspective in drafting. It combines both academic and practicality of legislative drafting for common law lawyers, as such it achieves its purpose being able to enhance individual skills of legislative drafting and build relations with other lawyers in the Commonwealth region..."
  • "I have been assigned a new bill to scrutinise as soon as I was back and was asked to share my experience during the course with my colleagues within the Legal Service Division and the Secretariat as a whole. It is a very unique experience to attend the lectures conducted by you and other speakers and exchange ideas with you and classmates from other jurisdictions. Thank you very much for your efforts in arranging everything that makes this course so stimulating and enjoyable."
Class attending the Legislative Drafting Course in 2013

Class attending the course in 2013