Fountain Court member and new President of the Society of Legal Scholars, Professor Andrew Burrows QC (Hon), FBA has used his inaugural address to highlight the growing concerns, amongst legal professionals, about the declining standards of the drafting of statutes.
In his address, Professor Burrows highlighted that in a world of ‘ever-increasing quantity of legislation’ the decline in the quality of drafting has resulted in legislation that is so unclear and complex that ‘in some areas, even lawyers and judges struggle to work out what the law is’.
He identified the newly enacted Consumer Rights Act 2015 as being a prime example of the declining standards. Initially the Act had set out to simplify and clarify consumer rights, but had in fact, become the ‘antithesis of clarity’.
It is possible that the declining standards may be as a result of the decreasing numbers of senior parliamentary counsel, at the Office of Parliamentary Counsel (OPC), responsible for drafting increasing amounts of legislation. These were sentiments echoed by Joshua Rozenberg in his recent review of the Act in the Law Society Gazette.