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Legislative drafting webinars

2019 | A Rules-based Approach to Measuring Prescriptivity in Canadian Regulations

Program PowerPoint

Date

Monday, March 11, 2019

Sponsored by the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Legislative Drafting program at Athabasca University

Theme

Legislative drafters follow formalized conventions when crafting statutory and regulatory texts. Professor Wolfgang Alschner will explore how such conventions can facilitate rules-based information extraction. Using regulatory reform as a case study, he will show how to apply rules derived from legislative drafting to automatically measure prescriptivity—a relative concept of commands in relation to permissions—in federal Canadian regulations. We measured prescriptivity by counting associated signaling terms across a corpus of 2,300 Canadian regulations. The resulting prescriptivity scores meaningfully describe policy-relevant characteristics of regulatory texts. These scores provide a basic metric to inform regulatory reform and highlight the value of rules-based analytics derived from legislative drafting conventions. Professor Alschner will also discuss how to facilitate the review of regulations using a software prototype that helps regulators to tell a “good” regulation worth preserving from a “bad” one in need of amendment or repeal.

Speaker

Professor Wolfgang Alschner, Faculty of Law – Common Law Section, University of Ottawa

Wolfgang Alschner is an empirical legal scholar specialized in international economic law and the computational analysis of law. He is a permanent faculty member of the Common Law Section with cross-appointment to the Faculty of Engineering, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is also a faculty member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa. Wolfgang holds a PhD in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, a Master of Law from Stanford Law School, a Master in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute as well as an LLB from the University of London and a BA in International Relations from the University of Dresden, Germany.

Moderator: Professor John Mark Keyes, Faculty of Law – Common Law Section, University of Ottawa

2019 | Mesurer la prescriptivité de la réglementation canadienne (in French)

Programme PowerPoint

Date

Le mercredi 20 mars 2019

Ce webinaire de 90 minutes est parrainé par le programme de diplôme post-baccalauréat en rédaction législative de l’Université Athabasca.

Thème

Les légistes suivent des consignes standardisées pour la rédaction de textes législatifs et réglementaires. Dans ce webinaire, nous verrons comment de tels standards peuvent faciliter l’extraction d’informations fondée sur des règles. En s’appuyant sur une étude de cas portant sur la réforme de la réglementation, le professeur Alschner expliquera comment appliquer les règles issues de la rédaction législative pour mesurer automatiquement la prescriptivité (un concept relatif concernant les commandements par rapport aux autorisations) des règlements fédéraux canadiens. La prescriptivité a été mesurée en comptant les termes associés à la signalisation dans un corpus de 2 300 règlements canadiens. Les résultats obtenus sont significatifs quant aux caractéristiques des textes réglementaires pouvant être pertinentes pour l’élaboration de politiques. Ces résultats offrent des paramètres de base en vue d’effectuer une réforme de la réglementation. Ils attirent notre attention sur la valeur des analyses faites à partir de règles tirées de la rédaction législative. Le professeur Alschner présentera également un prototype de logiciel qui facilite l’examen des règlements en aidant les autorités à distinguer une « bonne » réglementation d’une « mauvaise » réglementation devant être modifiée ou abrogée.

Conférencier

Le professeur Wolfgang Alschner, Faculté de droit – Section de droit civil, Université d’Ottawa

Wolfgang Alschner est un spécialiste du droit économique international et de l’analyse computationnelle du droit. Il enseigne à la Section de Common Law de la Faculté de droit de l’Université d’Ottawa, de même qu’à l’École de science informatique et de génie électrique de la Faculté de génie. Il fait partie des chercheurs du Centre de recherche en droit, technologie et société de la même université. Avant de se joindre à l’Université d’Ottawa, Me Alschner a travaillé à titre de chercheur indépendant pour la Section sur les accords internationaux d’investissement de la CNUCED pendant plusieurs années. Il a aussi été chercheur invité à l’Institut de hautes études de Genève ainsi qu’au World Trade Institute à Berne, en Suisse. Me Alschner est titulaire d’un doctorat en droit international de l’Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement de Genève, d’une maîtrise de la Stanford Law School, d’une maîtrise en affaires internationales de l’Institut de hautes études, de même que d’un LL.B. de l’University of London et d’un baccalauréat en relations internationales de l’Université de Dresde, en Allemagne.
Modératrice: La professeure Mistrale Goudreau, Faculté de droit – Section de droit civil, Université d’Ottawa

2018 | L’intention du législateur: un construit juridique (in French)

Program PowerPoint

Date

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

This program contains 1.5 CPD hours in all Canadian provinces.  Sponsored by the post-baccalaureate diploma program in legislative drafting at Athabasca University

Theme 

Au Canada, le principe moderne de Driedger a été déclaré « la méthode d’interprétation législative privilégiée » par la Cour suprême du Canada, mais certains auteurs notent un manque de cohérence des tribunaux dans l’utilisation de ce principe, notamment une alternance déroutante dans leurs décisions entre textualisme et intentionalisme. La thèse selon laquelle l’intention du législateur est en fait un construit juridique permet peut-être de sortir de ce malaise conceptuel, ce qui fera l’objet de cette présentation.

Speaker

Professor Mistrale Goudreau
Faculty of Law – Civil Law Section | University of Ottawa

2017 | Legislative Drafting: Mathematics in Legislation

Program Details PowerPoint

Date

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 & Wednesday, November 15, 2017

This program contains 1.5 CPD hours in all Canadian provinces.  Sponsored by the post-baccalaureate diploma program in legislative drafting at Athabasca University

Theme

Legislation usually consists of words written in accordance with the linguistic conventions of a particular natural language such as English or French. But if you look closely, you will see that it sometimes has features derived from mathematics rather than natural languages. In this webinar, Nicky Armstrong, an experienced Australasian legislative counsel now working in New Zealand, will take you through the various ways mathematical symbols and calculations crop up in legislation and how they can be used effectively to convey complex ideas.


Speaker

Ms. Nicky Armstrong, Parliamentary Counsel, New Zealand

Ms. Nicky Armstrong graduated from the University of Western Australia with a BJuris (Hons) (1988) and LLB (1989) and was admitted to practice in Western Australia in 1991. After graduating, she worked in one of Australia’s largest commercial law firms for 5 years before joining the Western Australian Parliamentary Counsel’s Office as a drafter. Nicky worked there for 15 years before moving to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in Australia’s Northern Territory in 2010. In 2015, she moved to New Zealand to take up her current role as a parliamentary counsel at the NZ Parliamentary Counsel Office.

2017 | Legislative Drafting and Legislated Forms: Plato, Prescription and Paradox

Program Details PowerPoint

Date

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

This program is offered by an accredited provider of professionalism content and is eligible for up to 1.5 Substantive Hours. Sponsored by the post-baccalaureate diploma program in legislative drafting at Athabasca University.

Theme

Administrative forms may seem trivial, but they are essential to many operations of government. Forms are often a key means of communication between the public and public officials; they enable access to government services and they structure flows of information in both directions. But what is a form? What are legislators actually doing when they require one? Who should establish forms, and how much tolerance for deviations should there be? This webinar will address these and related issues from the perspective of the legislative drafter and adviser.

Speaker

The webinar will be conducted by Lawrence Purdy, an experienced drafter at both the national and subnational levels. The presentation is based on one Lawrence gave last August in Halifax at the Joint Conference of the Canadian Associations of Parliamentary and Legislative Counsel.

2016 | Interpretation Acts

Program details

Date

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Theme

Interpretation Acts are the lynch-pins of the statute book. They establish its structure and organizational principles. They define fundamental concepts that constantly recur in legislation. Lord Thring, the first First Parliamentary Counsel, said "It is the duty of every draftsman to know it by heart and to bear its definitions in mind in every bill which he draws."

This Webinar will consider Interpretation Acts, including the revised Model Interpretation Act recently adopted by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. It will also consider Interpretation Acts from an Australian perspective. 

The Webinar will be led by two of the most experienced legislative counsel in the Commonwealth: Peter Pagano, the Chief Legislative Counsel of Alberta, and Eamonn Moran, Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission and formerly the Chief Parliamentary Counsel of Victoria (Australia) and the Law Draftsman of Hong Kong.

2015 | Le principe de neutralité technologique : consécration jurisprudentielle et ambiguïté conceptuelle

Program details PowerPoint

Date

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Theme

Les textes législatifs traitent constamment des documents et des moyens de communication numériques ayant des incidences juridiques, ce qui pose des grands défis rédactionnels dans un monde de changement technologique. Dans ce contexte, on parle souvent de neutralité technologique.

Or, comme l’avance la Cour fédérale d’appel dans la décision Société Radio-Canada c. Sodrac 2003 Inc. (2014 CAF 84), présentement en appel devant la Cour suprême du Canada, le principe de neutralité technologique peut être compris de différentes façons. Il peut s’agir d’une « neutralité de support » c’est-à-dire d’une règle selon laquelle la valeur d’un document ne dépend pas de son support (papier ou électronique). On peut aussi y voir une notion d’ « équivalence fonctionnelle »; le droit doit régir de la même façon les situations analogues, peu importe la technologie en cause. Enfin pour certains, et on trouve dans la jurisprudence de la Cour suprême des déclarations en ce sens, la règle de la neutralité technologique serait un principe d’interprétation beaucoup plus large, voulant que les lois s’appliquent uniformément, malgré la diversité technologique.

La présentation passera en revue ces différentes approches, fera une récapitulation des principales décisions où la Cour suprême du Canada a expressément fait référence à ce principe et présentera quelques-unes des difficultés que ces développements pourraient entraîner.

2015 | Technology-Neutral Drafting

Program details PowerPoint

Date

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Theme

Much legislation still mandates or contemplates the use of written material and processes that require paper documents.  The implementation of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce through Electronic Transactions Acts in many jurisdictions has permitted the use of electronic technologies as an alternative to paper.  While legislation of this kind may be useful in the context of commercial transactions, it may not always clearly apply where government processes are involved.

This presentation will explore the problem of drafting legislation to allow for both paper and electronic processes, particularly in the governmental context. The key questions covered include:

  • to what extent does the use in legislation of many apparently paper-centric terms (such as document, written, signature, sealed and certified) inhibit the implementation and use of electronic technologies?
  • what role can interpretation legislation and Electronic Transactions Acts play?
  • can judges, through the application of statutory interpretation principles, help?
  • is it possible to future-proof legislation to cater for ongoing developments in electronic technologies?

2013 | Inviting Drafting Instructions

Program Details

Date

Friday, November 15, 2013

Theme

Webinar on Legislative Drafting sponsored by the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma Program in Legislative Drafting at Athabasca University.

This 2-hour presentation will address practical issues in legislative drafting, based on the “Master Class” session of the 2013 Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel conference held April, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa.

In the CALC master classes, senior drafters from around the Commonwealth participate in a drafting challenge where all participants are provided with the same set of instructions and directed to prepare the required legislation as if it were for their own jurisdiction. The usual results provide a fine demonstration of how different drafters using the same instructions can produce remarkably different but effective drafts.

This year Janet Erasmus, Senior Legislative Counsel with the British Columbia Office of Legislative Counsel, was a master class participant who took a different approach to the challenge. Her draft was not prepared to produce a perfect draft from the instructions, rather it was prepared to demonstrate drafting techniques she uses to invite effective instructions from the instructing officials. In Cape Town, the time for presentation was very short. In this CIAJ/ICAJ webinar, she will talk in more depth about those invitation techniques (both substantive and visual), as well as the readability techniques and other techniques she used in preparing the master class draft.