Laws should be easier to understand, say Lords

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Oct 25, 2017
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Baroness Taylor of Bolton said: “Improving the quality of legislation is in everybody’s interest”

Paul Rogers for The Times

Laws must be made easier for the public and lawyers to understand and be given greater scrutiny in parliament, a House of Lords report has said.

Better policy preparation is needed before legislation goes before parliament to improve its quality and make the legal system more accessible, the report from the constitution committee says.

Consolidation of legislation is also urgently needed in areas such as immigration law and sentencing, it says.

The report urges changes to the legislative process including publication of the evidence for any proposals or reasons if there is none. It also calls on the government to develop guidance for departments as to when piloting a policy is appropriate or desirable.

Draft bills for pre-legislative scrutiny should be published more frequently and become a regular feature of the legislative process, the report says.

Baroness Taylor of Bolton, chairwoman of the committee, said: “Improving the quality of legislation is in everybody’s interest. We call on the government to publish draft bills and policy evidence as a regular part of the legislative process to facilitate better scrutiny. 

“We also believe the government should consolidate complex areas of the law, such as immigration and sentencing law, bringing the interlocking webs of statutes and regulations together into a single text to make it more accessible and comprehensible.”

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