To Enhance the Quality of Legislation

The quality of legislation can be evaluated on the basis of legal criteria (democratic legitimacy, subsidiarity, proportionality, legal certainty and transparency of the legal procedure); factual criteria (ability of the law to respond and adapt to the real-life circumstances and its effectiveness); and, finally, the quality of the text in itself (clarity, coherence and simplicity of language).[1]

The standards of quality of legislation also imply that legislators consider social reality not only by implementing ex post evaluation schemes but also by enacting other types of laws which are more flexible with regard to the evolution of social and economic change. This is where sunset clauses and experimental legislation come in. These instruments can contribute to the improvement of the quality of legislation and regulations for several reasons: first, these instruments can ‘rationalize’ the legislative process; secondly, they may be capable of reducing regulatory pressure by terminating unnecessary regulations; thirdly, both instruments require legislators to gather more information about the effectiveness of regulations and consider evidence-based information in the lawmaking process; fourthly, they convert the legislative process into an iterative learning process.

  • [1] A. Fluckiger, ‘Voter, elire et signer par Internet: le droit experimental a l’epreuve de la securite’ in M. Muller and A. Thomas (eds), E-voting (Bern, 2003)107.
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