Commonwealth Legislative Drafting Manual

image of Commonwealth Legislative Drafting Manual

In 1976, recognising that there was a shortage of trained legislative drafters in the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Secretariat first published a legislative drafting manual aimed at informing those practitioners with little or no previous experience in the skill, and assisting those with some experience who had never considered why drafting needed to be undertaken in a particular way.

That aim remains, but more than 40 years later there have been important changes in the way legislation is drafted. These mainly concern the perceived need to make it more accessible to those to be affected by it, in particular by the use of plain language and sentence structures that relate more closely to those used in formal non-legislative documents.

In the light of these and other changes, the Commonwealth Legislative Drafting Manual has been completely rewritten, and it now guides the practitioner step by step through the various things he or she needs to know. It also contains a series of appendices relating to the procedure for the preparation of legislation, the contents of drafting instructions, and some hints to the beginner on the best approaches to the task.



Introductory and Preliminary Provisions

Introductory Provisions - the Long title is a brief statement giving a short summary of the principal way or ways in which the statute will affect the law by indicating the central legal mechanisms it employs. Before short titles became conventional (only in the latter part of the 19th century) the long title was the only title (statutes were conventionally more usually referred to by reference to the year or years of the reign of the monarch in which they were enacted), and it was a device for limiting the scope of parliamentary debate.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error