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School of Law

Law Drafting and Law Reform in Small Jurisdictions

21 March 2019

Time: 9:30 - 6:00pm
Venue: Room L103, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5DR

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The Centre for Small States is pleased to acknowledge the support of the Society of Legal Scholars and the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Law Drafting and Law Reform in Small Jurisdictions puts the spotlight on a different and neglected aspect of law drafting and reform: the question of size. Specifically, how does the size of a jurisdiction affect its ability to make and change its laws?

Some of the challenges affecting small jurisdictions include: a lack of resources and paucity of policy/drafting capacity; the pressures and pull from sources outside the jurisdiction (e.g. international bodies or NGOs; larger states; treaty commitments); a vulnerability to domestic capture (e.g. criminal elements, big local businesses, strong domestic lobby groups); weak/bad governance (e.g. laws or institutions which themselves do not encourage or promote good governance, reflection and reform); the legacy of colonial legal systems and their interaction with indigenous or customary laws; and struggles to comply with constitutional norms such as accountability and transparency. Despite these difficulties small jurisdictions also have certain advantages when it comes to making and reforming law: they can be flexible and creative; they can legislate very quickly if the political will is there; and there is strong informal/formal accountability in a small jurisdiction.

Speakers at this event will explore law reform and law drafting in small jurisdictions through the themes of sovereignty; the impact of colonialism and legal plurality; the challenges of harmonising laws at regional and international levels; and constitutional reform.

Speakers Bio

Professor Claire de Than is a senior legal academic of more than 25 years’ standing, and a Jersey Law Commissioner, currently working on a Criminal Code. She has over 85 legal publications in total, including 15 books, chapters in leading legal monographs and edited collections, such as Reed and Bohlander, Substantive Issues in Criminal Law (Ashgate, 2011) and articles in a variety of national and international journals, including the Modern Law Review. Her research fields include criminal law, comparative law of tiny jurisdictions, human rights law, media law, and disability law. She has been an expert for the Law Commission of England and Wales on two recent projects. She has advised several governments and many organisations on criminal law, human rights and law reform issues, with specialisms in the law of British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

Professor Peter W Edge is Professor of Law at the School of Law, and the Centre for Global Politics at Oxford Brookes University. He received his PhD in Manx constitutional law from Cambridge University in 1994, and has published extensively on Manx law, and broader legal context of UK dependent territories. Recent Manx work includes a multimethod analysis of the temporary licensing of foreign counsel as Manx advocates, and the reception and implications of the Lisvane Review of the Functioning of Tynwald.