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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Legislative Drafting Office

About the Legislative Drafting Office

We are a team of lawyers, aided by our editorial support, who specialise in the preparation of Laws for enactment by the States of Jersey and the King in Council, Regulations to be made by the States of Jersey and Orders to be made by Ministers. We also prepare amendments to legislation on behalf of Ministers, Scrutiny Panels and individual States Members.

In addition we aim to ensure that the laws of Jersey as displayed on the Jersey Law website are available for access by everyone in a form that is as accurate and up to date as possible.

The Legislative Drafting Office is part of the States Greffe. The office is headed by Lucy Marsh-Smith, Principal Legislative Drafter. For more information about our office see our section of the States Greffe’s Business Plan.

You can see the previous years Business Plan on States Greffe's Business Plan 2022.

What we do

We prepare draft legislation that gives legal effect to the policy of the promoter of it, and we aim to do so in a way that is:

  • sufficiently unambiguous as to leave no room for construction other than that intended by the promoter
  • sufficiently clear as to be readily understood by the users of the legislation

How we do it

We are lawyers trained in the specialism of legislative drafting. It takes a number of years to become proficient in the art of turning policies into law. We work closely with policy officers across Government who tell us what they want in any new legislation, which could cover a diverse range of subject matters. It is our job to assist them in developing these drafting instructions and to test the effectiveness and legal soundness of the proposals. We also provide a confidential drafting service to Scrutiny panels and individual members who wish to challenge or improve proposed Government legislation by making changes to it.

We are a team of professionals who pride ourselves in maintaining in our work high standards of integrity, quality and independence. The values of the States of Jersey are integral to how we achieve our goals.

Publishing legislation

We produce the Jersey legislation displayed on the Laws section of the Jersey Legal Information Board website. Since 2019 we have been publishing updated consolidated versions of the legislation each time any amending legislation is made.

In 2021 the Legislation (Jersey) Law 2021 came into force. This law gives official status to the consolidated versions of our legislation (which effectively replaced the former Revised Editions).

We updated the Jersey Legal Information Board to take account of these changes. That work formed part of our Beyond 250 project to celebrate the anniversary of the 1771 Code of Laws. We continue to work with the Jersey Legal Information Board to improve the search facilities and other features of the website.

Current drafting practice

The Legislative Drafting Office follows the modern drafting practices of Commonwealth drafting offices. Many of our practices are specific to Jersey, and these are set out in our Current Drafting Practice.

Current Drafting Practice

The Practice document is mainly written for the benefit of our drafters, but the Legislation (Jersey) Law 2021 also requires us to publish it. This should help users of our legislation to understand how the legislation should be read.

For more on the background information essential to understanding legislation, you should also refer to the Interpretation (Jersey) Law 1954 and to the other publications and Laws mentioned in the Current Drafting Practice.

Training manual for instructing officers

The Legislative Drafting Office runs regular training courses for government policy officers on how to give instructions to our drafters. We have written a manual giving further guidance on writing drafting instructions and the legislation making process in Jersey more generally.

Making new legislation: a guide to instructing the drafter

Computer-Readable Legislation Project 2023 to 2024

The Legislative Drafting Office is running a 2 year project to find the best way for drafters to produce computer-readable versions of the logical structure of our drafts of legislation. That will mean computers can use those versions to check the drafts for inconsistencies or unexpected effects. Computers can then guide humans through the legislation during any consultation and after the legislation has come into force. 

This work is part of the global "Rules as Code" movement. We intend for this project to tie in with the work that the Jersey Financial Services Commission is doing on "RegTech" to make their rules computer-readable. We have an introductory guide to the project and a more detailed plan for the first stages of the project.

Introduction to the Computer-Readable Legislation Project

Plan for first stages of the Computer-Readable Legislation Project

More information

For more information see our YouTube channel, our LinkedIn page and our Twitter feed

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