Legal Studies (LGST) 551

Introduction to Legislative Drafting

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized-Study

Credits: 3

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Program: Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Legislative Drafting

check availability


LGST 551: Introduction to Legislative Drafting introduces students to legislative drafting. Students will develop drafting skills and familiarity with approaches to legislative drafting typical in common law jurisdictions. This course focuses on the nature of legislation and the steps in preparing legislation in common law jurisdictions, using legislative punctuation and grammar, and drafting legislative sentences.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of LGST 551, students should be able to archieve the following course objectives.

  1. Describe the nature and principal characteristics of legislative drafting in the Commonwealth tradition, how that tradition developed, and how it has influenced the way we draft today.
  2. Describe the steps by which legislative proposals are formulated and translated into legal provisions, and the procedure by which those provisions are validated as legislation in your jurisdiction.
  3. Explain the respective functions of administrators and Legislative Counsel in the preparation process in principle and in the practice of your jurisdiction, and explain the duties and responsibilities of Legislative Counsel.
  4. Explain the principal objectives for which drafters should work and the fundam­ental practices that are most likely to contribute to achieving them.
  5. Explain why legislative drafts take the form they do.
  6. Use the correct expressions to describe the main features of grammar and avoid common errors of grammar.
  7. Describe the various types of legislative instrument in use in your jurisdiction; the features of primary legislation that are conventional in your jurisdiction; and the conventions relating to the structure of Bills and their standard components.
  8. Apply the basic principles of legislative syntax and expression to the writing of legislative sentences, and select, compose, and combine the components of simple legislative sentences.
  9. Comply with standard drafting conventions followed in your jurisdiction in relation to punctuating legislative sentences and the use of capital letters.
  10. Detect the main kinds of drafting errors in connection with legislative syntax and expression, and compose legislative sentences that are unambiguous and free from common errors of expression.

Student Evaluation

Students should be prepared to devote the time necessary to complete the various activities in this course: reading actively and critically; researching the law and legal principles and recording the results of that research; engaging in self-study exercises; and preparing drafting projects that are appropriate and adequate for their purposes. To help students develop these skills, the course instructor will provide feedback on drafting projects. Students are expected to demonstrate a willingness to work.

To help students plan their individual study schedules, each activity is weighted proportionately. Your work in this course will be evaluated according to the principles of legislative drafting, including style, research, background/context, and grammar/mechanics.

To receive credit for LGST 551: Introduction to Legislative Drafting, students will be required to complete the following activities successfully.

Prepare five drafting projects interspersed at appropriate points in the course and weighted as follows:

Drafting Project 1 Drafting Project 2 Drafting Project 3 Drafting Project 4 Drafting Project 5: Part 1 Drafting Project 5: Part 2 Total
15% 20% 10% 25% 20% 10% 100%

Course Materials

The course materials for LGST 551: Introduction to Legislative Drafting are available on the course website. These materials include study materials, exercise and drafting project instructions, and resource materials with a bibliography and links to useful websites.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.