JIS News

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  • The development of legislation in Jamaica is expected to be vastly improved, as those involved in the process will be provided with a new Legislative Policy Manual to guide them.
  • The manual, developed by the Ministry of Justice through the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, will help to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the preparation and implementation of legislation.
  • It is intended to provide a guide for officials, primarily in Government Ministries and Departments, who are engaged in the preparation of legislation.

The development of legislation in Jamaica is expected to be vastly improved, as those involved in the process will be provided with a new Legislative Policy Manual to guide them.

Currently at the draft stage, the manual, developed by the Ministry of Justice through the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, will help to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the preparation and implementation of legislation.

It is intended to provide a guide for officials, primarily in Government Ministries and Departments, who are engaged in the preparation of legislation.

Currently, stakeholders are reviewing and considering the manual at a Legislative Development Forum, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day forum on May 4, Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, explained that the Legislative Policy Manual aims to improve the overall quality of the legislative policy development process.

“It will facilitate the development of sound policy for proposed legislation, and therefore lead to greater efficiency in the drafting. This will mean the enactment of laws that are more responsive to the needs of our society and that positively impact the lives of our citizens,” he said.

The Minister stressed that substantive adequacy and coherence can be achieved through the application of the Legislative Policy Manual, “which will leave little room for gaps in the Bills that are sent to the Legislation Committee.”

“I hope to see less half-baked legislation coming to the Legislation Committee in need of major surgery and life support. These aberrations should become a thing of the past if this manual is adopted and properly applied across Government,” he said.

Senator noted that he has read the draft manual and is impressed by its breadth and comprehensiveness. “If it is followed by those involved in legislation from start to finish, I am confident that we will see very positive results,” he said.

The manual is one of two being developed under the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme, being implemented in the Justice Ministry.

The other document is the Legislative Drafting Manual, which is intended to augment the drafters’ technical skills, and ensure consistently high standards and approaches to Jamaica’s legislation.

“These are two significant tools that will codify and standardise the development of sound policies and drafting instructions from which high-quality legislation can be achieved and will help to standardise and improve drafting office practice and techniques,” the Minister pointed out.

Senator Golding noted that these manuals, once adopted and implemented across Government, will lead to more efficient processes for developing legislation and an even higher quality legislative product.

The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel is the law office of the Government charged with the responsibility for the preparation of draft legislation. It consists of a cadre of attorneys-at-law, headed by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and supported by administrative and secretarial staff.

The $20 million JUST programme, which is being funded by the Canadian Government, seeks to reform Jamaica’s justice system, making it more available, accessible, accountable, flexible, fair and affordable in a timely, courteous, respectful and competent manner for all citizens.

The forum is being staged by the Ministry of Justice through the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.