Good legislation is critical for democratic governance – Mould-Iddrisu
Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, on Monday stated that good legislative drafting were critical to the country’s democratic practice of good governance and rule of law.
She said legislative drafting was a substantive speciality, which demanded practical skills concerned mainly with language and an understanding of the law.
Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu made the call at the opening session of the Fifth Commonwealth Legislative Drafting Course in Accra.
The Course being organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with Government of Ghana and Ghana School of Law, is to address the shortage of draftsmen in most Commonwealth African Countries.
Participants attending the six-week course were from Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia and Zambia.
Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu said legislative drafting was a discipline and required hours of intellectual labour and concentration as well as learning through personal supervision and dedication.
She said legislative drafting demanded that the person drafting be patient, meticulous, must have good rapport with colleagues, interact with the public and accept criticism.
Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu urged the participants to learn and equip themselves with the knowledge and skills in order to contribute meaningfully to the good governance in their respective countries.
Mrs. Justice Georgina Wood, Chief Justice, whose speech was read by Mr. Justice Stephen Brobbey, a Supreme Court Judge, said any good legislation should be in a language, which was clear, lucid and free from ambiguity.
She said the ability and skills to implement these principles were what these legislative drafting courses aimed at.
Mrs. Justice Wood said legislative drafting was a very important feature in the democratic system of governance irrespective of its shape and form adding, no government could survive without the power to make laws for the good order and governance of the country.
She said unfortunately, especially in Commonwealth Africa, the avenues for training draftsmen were limited and for a young draft person in these countries mastering the skills of draftsmanship had been on-the-job training in the various chambers of the Attorney-General’s Department.
The Chief Justice said legislative drafting was physically exacting and strain on the eyes and spinal cord were the least that draftsmen want to hear about.
She said as Chairperson of Board of Legal Education of Ghana School of Law, she had appraised the request made by the Commonwealth Secretariat to institutionalise the Commonwealth Legislative course as a postgraduate diploma and certificate course.
Mrs. Justice Wood said Ghana School of Law had accepted the challenge and initiated steps in that regard and assured the Commonwealth Secretariat that their proposal would be considered to realise the school’s vision of making legislative drafting course a flagship programme for Africa.