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Write laws devoid of ambiguities – Attorney General

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Appiah-OppongThe Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, has challenged legislative drafters to write laws devoid of ambiguities.

She said clarity of laws would reduce the areas of misunderstanding and in turn reduce the incidence of litigation that arose out of interpretation.

Mrs Appiah-Oppong, who made the call at the opening ceremony of the 8th Commonwealth Legislative Drafting Course for African member states in Accra yesterday, observed that a badly drafted law may lead to the violation of liberties and untoward circumstances not intended by the drafters.

The 12-week course, being attended by participants from 18 African countries, is under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Ghana School of Law and the Government of Ghana.

The Minister explained that such laws, which were devoid of uncertainties were easily understood by a larger number of people most of whom would obey and this would lead to fewer violations and reduced cases for the law courts to deal with.

Mrs Appiah-Oppong said the drive to uphold the principle of rule of law, the tenets of good governance and democracy could not be separated from the work of the legislative drafters, adding that one of the critical poles of democratic governance was the creation of institutions with the necessary legislative backing.

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She told the participants that legislative drafting was an important exercise and their ability to assimilate the lessons and put them to good practice would influence the course of history and destinies of people in their various jurisdictions.

Mrs Appiah-Oppong noted that legislative drafting demanded hours of concentrated intellectual labour and was extremely onerous, exacting and highly skilled task that was expressed by a unique kind of writing.

She asked legislative counsels that in translating policy into legislation, they had to foresee what the policy maker failed to see and make recommendations to address this to avert preparing legislation that could be the subject of several amendments in the near future.

The Director of Legal Education of the Ghana School of Law, Mr Kwesi Prempeh-Eck, announced that after years of organising the course, stakeholders had agreed that it would be made a permanent course at the Ghana School of Law.

He said the course had been enriched based on criticism, suggestions and feedback from participants and the experienced lectures.

A representative of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mrs Job Oluwatoyin, described the work of legislative drafters as a silent job which had a great impact on the lives of most of the ordinary people in their various countries.