Designing Effective Legislation
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Designing Effective Legislation

Maria Mousmouti

What is effective legislation? Is it a matter of intuition, luck or the result of evidence based law making? Can it be consciously ‘engineered’? This book advances the novel idea that legislative effectiveness is the result of complex ‘mechanics’ in the conceptualisation, design and drafting of four elements inherent in every law: purpose, content, context and results. It concludes that effectiveness can be achieved with conceptual and methodological insights that guide the specific choices of lawmakers when designing and drafting legislation.
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Chapter 2: Legislation and its purpose

Maria Mousmouti


Objectives are a mystifying concept in lawmaking. Their importance is obvious, yet they are notoriously ambiguous and volatile in formulation, function, expression and location. What kind of objectives can legislation pursue? How are these expressed? Where are they to be found? And how is purpose distinct from the reasons justifying legislation? These are a few of the dilemmas that lawmakers must address in order to formulate objectives that meaningfully communicate the purpose of the Act, assist interpretation and implementation and ‘bridge’ the gap between policy and law. From the perspective of effective lawmaking, purpose is an operative part of the law and needs to be clear, objectively identifiable, traceable, and sets a meaningful benchmark for what a law aims to achieve.

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