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 6: Which tools for effective lawmaking?

Maria Mousmouti

Abstract

The effort to rationalise lawmaking came with a set of tools including Impact Assessment, Consultation, Simplification, Codification. Each of these tools contributes something different to the decision making process leading to the adoption of policies and legislation: Impact Assessment provides a structured thinking process for evidence-based decision making; consultation provides a framework for information collection and participation; simplification removes compliance barriers and codification improves coherence and consistency in the statute book. How useful is this toolkit to actual lawmaking? Taking a closer look at Impact Assessment and consultations, which are the main tools used in proactive decision making, it becomes evident that they lack the detail and focus on the specific questions that lawmakers have to address. Both tools contribute to efficacy and efficiency while effectiveness appears to be a secondary concern. However, when decision making has made a clear selection of option, this is when effectiveness becomes important. The ‘effectiveness test’ a conceptual exercise that adds effectiveness lenses can contribute to lawmaking by looking at the elements of effective legislation and their interactions.

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