Legislative Drafting Workshop delivered for the Staff of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Maldives

The third workshop focusing on legislative drafting was delivered to the Staff of the Prosecutor General’s Office

On 1-2 June 2021, the Max Planck Foundation held the third workshop in partnership with the Prosecutor General’s Office aiming to equip the staff of the Prosecutor General’s Office in the Maldives with tools and resources to further develop the practice of drafting legislation. The first workshops in the series were held in September and November 2020. The event was held via video conference over two days, which were divided into presentations, exercises, and discussion sessions.

After starting the workshop with opening remarks and a short recap of the last workshops, the event continued with its first session and topic for the day “Structuring an Act”. The importance and different approaches to structuring a piece of legislation were presented along with various recommendations on how to ensure that the primary message of the law is prioritised and clearly delineated. This session had been followed with addressing the same topic of structuring, but from a different standpoint, looking into the types of provisions available to a drafter and their prioritisation in an Act. The first day concluded with an exercise, where the participants were divided into groups and were asked to draft a skeletal structure of a Witness Protection Act, that would include its main headings and that would employ the methods to ensure proper structuring discussed in the earlier sessions.

The second day started with a discussion session around a fact pattern that involved applying statutory interpretation aids to establish the proper application of the laws concerned. Followed by the first substantive session of the day on “Reducing complexity in legislation” and the tools that can be used to render laws clear and precise and avoid verbosity, ambiguity, vagueness, etc. In a subsequent session on “Drafting tools to limit arbitrariness in the conferral and exercise of discretionary powers”, the participants were acquainted with the definition and characteristics of administrative discretion, forms of discretions and principles to limit discretion, all illustrated through examples (excerpts of laws and provisions), along with methods to prevent arbitrary discretionary powers. A final exercise concluded the event, where the two groups were tasked with drafting a part, section, or set of provisions pertaining to two different subjects within the witness protection framework. After each group presented its drafts, their peers could comment on them and take part in a final discussion on the topics covered over the course of the two days.

The workshop ended with concluding remarks from the Foundation research fellows and participants, that shared their findings and final questions and underlined subjects for future activities. A fourth workshop for the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Maldives is scheduled to take place later this year. This workshop has been developed as part of the German Federal Foreign Office funded project, “Stabilising the Rule of Law by Supporting the Reform Agenda of the Republic of Maldives”.