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 7: Legislative failure

Maria Mousmouti


Legislative failure is a popular topic, yet one often addressed in a shallow way. Failure raises difficult questions: What counts as legislative failure? How can it be objectively recognised and explained? By whom? When? And what comes after? Ultimately, is it a lawmaking or a political issue? Understanding failure, as the flipside of effectiveness, is the only way to understand pathologies in legislation, correct and prevent them. Failure in legislative design, in drafting or in implementation puts in motion corrective mechanisms like amendments, simplification, improvements in accessibility or broader law reform. But is this enough to prevent future failure? Effective lawmaking goes beyond short term responses to require an open and proactive approach that acknowledges, diagnoses and analyses failure and integrates it in lawmaking through scepticism and reflective practice.

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