EU Law Making, Legislation and Language


 An introduction to EU legislative drafting, focusing in particular on EU legislation and the approach of the EU institutions, and an introduction to drafting national transposition measures.

The course is given in English.

The course provides a theoretical basis but also involves practical work. It takes a general approach that is equally accessible to students from different disciplines and from diverse legal systems, with an emphasis on comparative-law techniques.

The course runs from January to April and consists of 10 teaching weeks with at least 4 hours of home study per week including the drafting of a short weekly report summarising course materials and applying them to the specific circle of professional activity undertaken by each candidate. All materials are placed on the encrypted Virtual Learning Environment page of the course, to which only participants have access.

The course includes one study weekend in London in March (from Friday to Sunday - not included in the fees). During the study weekend visits will be arranged to bodies in the United Kingdom working in the field of legislation, such as the Parliamentary Counsel's Office, the Law Commission and the Home Office.

All students have access to the IALS library and remote access facilities, including Hein on Line and Westlaw, for the duration of their study.

The course can be taken (a) either strictly as a professional course (£1,700); or (b) with an LLM "credit bearing" option (£2,350) which involves an additional piece of coursework (essay of 3500 words on a topic of the participants' choice - approve by the course leaders). The LLM credit bearing option will allow the participants to use the credit gained as one of the six-modules of the LLM in Advanced Legislative Studies via Distance Learning.

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Target audience

Graduates in law or a similar discipline, with an interest in legislative drafting, in particular that of the European Union (EU) and transposition of EU rules. Participants are expected to have at least basic legal knowledge and understanding of EU law but need not have specific knowledge of legislation or regulatory issues. Participants may include, apart from lawyers engaged in legislative drafting at national level or for EU institutions, staff in technical departments who are called on to produce initial drafts of EU legislation or national transposition measures, or to comment on drafts produced by others, lawyers whose job is to revise draft EU legislation or national transposition measures, or others whose work is related to EU legislation or transposition in some other way.

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The course draws on experience from the IALS Course in Legislative Drafting that has been run since 1964 and attended by over 3000 students from 90 countries. Many of these students have attained posts of great distinction either in the service of their Governments or in international organisations.

From its modest beginnings in the 1960s, the Course in Legislative Drafting has grown to become the most renowned training programme in legislative drafting. Since 1998 the course is offered under the auspices of the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London. The host institution follows, and is audited on the basis of, the UK's framework for academic quality assurance in all its programmes of study. Emphasis is placed on the quality of its lecturers, coherence in structure, encouragement of participation, an academic (rather than commercial) approach to learning, regular review of courses, and post hoc monitoring through regular feedback.

The aim of the course is not to prescribe but to empower national drafters to apply best international drafting practices to their own legal system reflecting their own political, cultural, and social intricacies, which are better known and understood by national drafters.

The programme promotes best practices in statutory drafting, as exemplified in the work of Sir William Dale. Central to the programme is the belief that barriers between "developed" and "transitional" jurisdictions, between common and civil law traditions, between continents and countries are in essence overrated: all drafters can learn from the experience of others provided that lessons learnt serve the same functionality test, and are subsequently naturalised in the context of national eccentricities. The rich multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and multi-jurisdictional tradition of the Course as a learning environment enriches drafters with innovative solutions, and a unique preview of the insight of others who have already applied and reviewed them.

The Course is suitable for both experienced and inexperienced drafters.

The Course has created a distinctive school of drafting which encourages modern drafting techniques with emphasis on effective and user-friendly legislation, and exposure to a variety of drafting styles and lecturers, thus allowing participants to select elements that best suit their national laws, and their own tradition, culture, and jurisprudence.

This culture of respect and collegiality is carried through to our post-training initiatives , such as:

  • the IALS forum for legislative drafters, a unique opportunity for alumni and others to exchange views and experiences online;
  • the IALS Legislative Drafting Clinic, the only free advisory service in legislative drafting run by volunteers from our PhD, LLM, and Course participants;
  • the extensive free lectures and evening seminars in legislative drafting offered at the IALS; these include: the Annual Sir William Dale Memorial Lecture, the series of joint evening seminars offered in cooperation with the Statute Law Society, and the IALS Graduate Series of Seminars in Legislative Drafting offered from members of our drafting community;
  • the extensive publication initiatives of our Centre for members of our drafting staff and graduate community; these include: the Sir William Dale Memorial Book "Legislative Drafting: A Modern Approach", the annual Sir William Dale Memorial Issue of the European Journal of Law Reform ; and guest Sir William Dale Memorial issues at the Commonwealth Law Bulletin and the Statute Law Review.

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1. Introduction to EU legislative drafting
Basic legislative and regulatory theory:
  What is legislation?
  What kinds of legislation are there?
  How does legislation work?
Constitutional aspects:     
  Legislative competence:
  Parliamentary sovereignty and constitutional sovereignty
  EU: principles of conferral, subsidiarity and proportionality
Multi-layered law: regional, national, supranational
2. Drafting and the EU legislative process
Organisation of the legislative process:
  Roles of government and parliament
  EU legislative process
Organisation of the drafting process:
  Central drafting office or decentralised system
  EU drafting process
Drafting rules, principles and guidance
  EU drafting rules: Joint Practical Guide and others
3. Drafting and the EU policy process
Identifying and analysing problems
Identifying and weighing up options
Regulatory Impact Assessment
4. Structure of EU legislation
Organisation of EU laws: codes or individual acts
  Organisation of the EU acquis
Organisation of an act: divisions and order of provisions
  Structure of EU acts
5. Language of legislation
Choice of words
Clarity and ambiguity
Clear writing
Gender neutrality
Multilingual legislation
Language of EU legislation
6. Drafting the enacting terms
Drafting styles
Brevity and consistency
Legislative sentences
Basic principles of EU drafting (Guidelines 1 to 6)
7. Drafting introductory provisions and final provisions
Purpose clauses or subject-matter clauses
Scope clauses
Transitional provisions
Entry into force and application
8. Amendment, codification and repeal
Types of amendments
Amendment in the EU system
Keeping the statute book up to date
Codification, recasting and repeal in the EU system
9. Drafting and governance
Better Regulation and Smart Regulation in the EU system
  Reducing administrative burdens
  Alternatives to regulation
  Evaluation of existing legislation
10. Explanatory materials and statutory interpretation
Explanatory materials:
  Explanatory materials in the EU system
  In the act itself (titles, preambles, .)
  Separate from the act (explanatory memoranda, citizen's summaries, .)

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If you would like to take this course or would like more information please contact:

Dr Constantin Stefanou (BA, MA, MPhil, PhD)
Director of Taught Programmes
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London)
Charles Clore House
17 Russell Square
Tel: +44 20 78625759
Room:  509A

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Page last updated: 26th July 2018