a Comparative Perspective
Elgar Monographs in Constitutional and Administrative Law series
Chapter 1: Lawmaking in a time of change
In the ideal world, laws ‘mirror society’: they are based on perfect information, regulate social behaviour in its multiple forms and rapid mutations, and reflect the social, economic and political conditions of their time.These ‘perfect laws’ are born of an informed, deliberative and efficient process, in other words, key legislative decisions are only made when sufficient and relevant information has been gathered, ‘a full interchange of views and arguments among those making the decisions’ has taken place and ‘legislative proposals [have been] disposed of in the time available’. In addition, in the ideal world, laws are the result of a fair decision-making process impermeable to political hurdles and lobbying, lead a life of effective and efficient implementation, and expire when they are no longer necessary. Unfortunately in the real world, laws do not expire when they should, but when they can. Moreover, reflecting the current society has become increasingly challenging due to the rapid ‘social and technological acceleration of society’. This acceleration of reality does not interact well with slow-going legislators, resistance to legal change, obsolete laws, excessive administrative burdens and a perception of the rule of law as ‘a law of [permanent] rules’.