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Legislative drafting webinars

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.