Justice lacks legal drafters

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Windhoek

Only four legislative drafters out of 16 are experienced to work as legal drafters, who have to work on Bills, as well as supervise the work of junior drafters and provide in-house training.

This dire situation was highlighted by Justice Minister Dr Albert Kawana in the National Assembly during the ongoing debates on the 2016 Appropriation Bill.

He requested N$38 million for the directorate tasked with translating policies into legislation, recommending reform of the law, providing legal services and promoting international cooperation in legal matters, such as extradition and mutual legal assistance.

The directorate for legislative drafting translates government policies and is involved in the drafting of Bills and subsidiary legislation, such as proclamations, regulations, rules, and drafting of government notices.

Kawana, however, stressed that there is a severe shortage of experienced legislative drafters, which he said is an unfortunate fact.

Legislative drafting requires highly specialised skills that are very scarce, not only in Namibia but the world over, Kawana told fellow parliamentarians.

To make matters worse, he said, there are insufficient incentives to recruit and retain experienced legislative drafters.

The directorate experiences huge setbacks when an experienced drafter resigns, as it takes more than seven years to find a suitable replacement.

According to Kawana, more Bills are expected to be drafted due to certain key changes in the government structure, such as the establishment of new ministries and agencies.

He said during the 2015/2016 financial year the directorate received 35 Bills, of which 17 were completed for consideration by parliament.

The directorate also received 30 proclamations, which were completed, 45 regulations, of which 37 were completed, 220 government notices, of which 211 were completed and 12 general notices, of which 7 were completed.

Due to the high demand from offices, ministries and agencies, the directorate is expected to finalise about 48 bills this year, Kawana explained.

He said this would present a serious challenge, given the fact that there are only four experienced and skilled legislative drafters in the ministry.

 

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