Joint Seminar for the South Sudanese Bicameral Legislature

The Africa team of the Max Planck Foundation completed the legal capacity-building programme for the National Legislature of South Sudan

The Max Planck Foundation’s sub-sahara Africa team conducted the last seminar in the workshop series for the honourable members of the two houses of the National Legislature of South Sudan between 14–16 November 2013 in Juba, South Sudan. The seminar brought together members of the National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States to discuss their inter-house relations and competences. The Council of States was established under the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011 (TCSS) as a second chamber. The seminar provided one of the first platforms for the members of both houses to discuss their relationship and facilitated discussions for a fruitful cooperation between the two chambers.

The seminar addressed the current bicameral system under the TCSS, and extensively discussed possible options to modify and enhance the system in the permanent Constitution of South Sudan. The principal areas of discussion included the role and relationship of each house of the National Legislature in the legislative process in South Sudan. The comparative discussions on the law and experiences of bicameral legislatures in Africa, Europe and North America enriched the discussions. The fact that the compliance of the respective Conduct of Business Regulations of the National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States with the TCSS leave room for interpretation was highlighted and analysed in the various working groups. The honourable members were very receptive of the seminar and took ample opportunity to discuss possibilities to streamline the legislative process and to improve future relations between the two houses.