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 8: On lawmakers, lawmaking and effectiveness

Maria Mousmouti

Abstract

So how can effectiveness help lawmakers in their complex tasks? Effectiveness adds a purposive dimension to legislative decision making: it does not tell lawmakers what to do or how to do it but adds a layer of pragmatism and offers a concrete decision making criterion. In this way, it encourages a closer connection between legislation and reality and makes the lawmaking process ‘bottom up’, ‘grounded’ and more open to evidence and knowledge. Lawmakers on the other hand, using effectiveness in decision making, are prompted to be ‘reflective’ rather than rely on intuition or just ‘muddle through’ and engage in active thinking, being aware of the heuristics and cognitive biases that are unique to their trade. Effective law requires lawmakers who are good designers, skilled mechanics but also active learners and thinkers.

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