Thursday, 10 November 2011

First Public Hearing on Uniform Methodological Rules for Legislative Drafting Held

On 10 November 2011, the Legislative Committee organised the First Public Hearing on the Uniform Methodological Rules for Legislative Drafting, with the support of the OSCE Mission to Serbia.

Considering that the Serbian legal system had no such rules before and that a little more than a year has passed since the beginning of the implementation of the Uniform Methodological Rules for Legislative Drafting,the Legislative Committee decided to hold a public hearing to review their impact on the quality of the regulations passed in the aforementioned period.

Greeting the participants NARS Deputy Speaker Gordana Comic reminded that in the last 11 years the legislative process in Serbia came in different shapes and the submitters of legal acts had different ideas on what they should be like, who they should be forwarded to and under which procedure. She stressed that the Uniform Methodological Rules for Legislative Drafting have already shown that their application has had an impact on the quality of the adopted laws and deemed that it would continue to be useful in assembly convocations to come. The National Assembly, said Gordana Comic, has implemented the introduction of methodological rules more rapidly than other European parliaments.

Vlatko Ratkovic, the Chairman of the National Assembly’s Legislative Committee, spoke of the first year of тхе implementation of the Uniform Methodological Rules for Legislative Drafting. These rules, he said, standardize the basic activities a submitter of a legal act must employ and has shown to facilitate their understanding and adoption. The methodological rules have, among other things, equated the structure of the regulations and their layout, systematized them and established the rules for the drafting of consolidated texts and introduced the rule of explaining proposed regulations. Ratkovic reminded that 136 laws and 12 general documents have been adopted since the beginning of the application of these methodological rules. He also stressed that thanks to the methodology, the civil sector has a greater influence on the adoption of laws adding that the rules of legislative drafting have helped improve the quality of the adopted acts as well as ensured a more successful work of the Legislative Committee and the National Assembly which was confirmed by various international institutions. The Legislative Committee Chairman opined that the public hearing would show whether the implementation so far points to a possible need to amend and modify the act.

The participants were also addressed by Dr Ortlieb Fliedner, legal expert, who spoke of the experiences of FR Germany, Austria and Switzerland in the preparation of laws and other acts and the instruments for the control of their enforcement. Speaking of the instruments which might improve the quality and control the enforcement of the new laws, he stressed that systemic assessment and evaluation of the adopted laws can be particularly useful in that regard.

In the debate, the participants deemed that so far the implementation of the Uniform Methodological Rules has made a significant impact on the quality of the adopted laws. They pointed out the need for public participation and transparency in the preparation of laws, and in particular public debate on the quality of laws as that enables the inclusion of different opinions and positions in the early phase of legislative drafting. The participants made several suggestions and proposals for improvement of some parts of the methodological rules relating to the written language of the laws, the writing of amendments, glossary and costs of the implementation of the laws.

Concluding the public hearing, Legislative Committee Chairman Vlatko Ratkovic said that the Committee would study all the suggestions and proposals and forward their deliberations to the participants in the form of conclusions.

In addition to the members of the Legislative Committee, the public hearing was attended by the participants of the process of drafting and submission of regulations passed by the National Assembly, representatives of non-governmental organisations, independent regulatory bodies, as well as expert and concerned public.

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