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Commonwealth launches website to assist member countries revise laws

By Joyce Namutebi

Added 24th October 2017 02:49 PM

The comprehensive legal resource will help countries strengthen existing laws and create new legislations.

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Secretary-General Patricia Scotland. Photo/File

The comprehensive legal resource will help countries strengthen existing laws and create new legislations.

COMMONWEALTH| LAW REFORMS 

THE Commonwealth,  a grouping to which Uganda is a member, has developed a website aimed at supporting governments wishing to either revise existing laws or draft new legislation.


The comprehensive legal resource will help countries strengthen existing laws and create new legislations.

The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Legal Exchange – a knowledge portal that will support member countries by providing access to the laws of all 52 states, was launched by Secretary-General Patricia Scotland at the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting in The Bahamas recently, according to information availed by the organisation.

“Aimed at supporting governments wishing to either revise existing laws or draft new legislation, the website contains a database of statutes and Commonwealth model laws which have been digitised, categorised and cross-referenced, making it easier for governments and law ministers to access and download.”

The site also provides an online community of practice for government lawyers from across the Commonwealth, enabling countries to share information on current law reform initiatives.

Attorneys-General, ministers and senior officials welcomed the new initiative, with host Attorney-General Carl Bethel describing it as an example of how the Commonwealth continues to benefit The Bahamas.

“With the development of this new website, the Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform is providing us with the ability for real-time communication throughout the Commonwealth with our colleagues on critical issues,” he said. 

The secretary-general Scotland said, “The Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform’s new portal is a one-stop shop for all the legal work that the Secretariat does”.

“We know that legal knowledge gaps of some countries mean that governments can struggle to reform their laws in order to tackle issues such as violent crime. However, for the first time, model laws will now be available in one place on the Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform website. This will be an invaluable resource for law ministers, providing them with the necessary expertise and guidance.

“In addition to the model laws, Commonwealth countries can visit the OCCJR website and access legal knowledge products such as handbooks, guidelines and schemes in different legal areas.”

Alongside the website, two new practical guides were launched today.  The Commonwealth Legislative Drafting Manual, which supports legislative drafters in preparing clear, concise and consistent laws and  Changing the Law: A Practical Guide to Law Reform,which is designed to provide practical assistance to those responsible for reforming existing legislation.

 

 Countries can request assistance from the Office (the Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform) to reform laws in a range of different legal areas. The Office also offers a number of brand new handbooks which are there to assist officers of Attorneys General to make new laws.

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