Engaging with LDAC
Consulting with LDAC before a Bill is introduced
Bills are identified through the legislation programme
Bills are identified for LDAC consultation through the annual legislation programme. Ministers must indicate whether they intend to refer a Bill to LDAC in legislation bids seeking priority for a Bill on the legislation programme (external link) .
The Attorney-General may also make recommendations to Ministers when the legislation programme is being settled about referring a Bill to LDAC.
What kind of legislative proposals should be referred to LDAC?
A legislative proposal should definitely be referred to LDAC if the proposal:
- is a significant principal Act, or
- is likely to impact on the coherence of the statute book (for example, because of a significant degree of overlap or interaction with other legislation), or
- is or is likely to be inconsistent with the principles in the LAC Guidelines (2014 edition) (particularly those relating to fundamental legal and constitutional principles).
You may also wish to refer a legislative proposal to LDAC if:
- the proposal raises basic framework/design issues or questions of instrument choice, or
- you consider the proposal would benefit from advice on how best to apply or ensure consistency with the LAC Guidelines.
Legislative proposals that are not referred to LDAC before introduction may be reviewed by LDAC's External Subcommittee. In appropriate cases, the External Subcommittee may make submissions to select committees.
When should agencies engage with LDAC?
Agencies should engage with LDAC in the initial stages of developing legislation, when legislative proposals and drafting instructions are being prepared.
The best time to engage with LDAC will depend on the nature of the legislative proposal. LDAC's experience and departments' feedback suggests working with LDAC before final policy approvals adds the most value, particularly where policy decisions will relate directly to legislative framework, design, or fundamental legal or constitutional issues.
Contact the LDAC Secretary to discuss engaging with LDAC and organise a meeting.
Meeting with LDAC
LDAC meetings are held every six weeks. The dates for each year are available on the Updates page of this website. LDAC can also engage with agencies in between six weekly meetings through a subcommittee of its members.
Usually, officials and Parliamentary Counsel working on a legislative proposal are invited to attend a meeting to discuss and canvas issues within the proposed legislation. Meetings are usually 20 - 40 minutes depending on the complexity of the legislative proposal.
In advance of meeting with LDAC, agency officials are asked to provide:
- a summary of issues that they would like to discuss with LDAC, including any proposals for how these might be dealt with
- a completed Guidelines Checklist
- a draft copy of the Bill (if available)
- any relevant background papers (or draft papers)
Following an initial meeting, if the Committee thinks appropriate, it will delegate a subcommittee of its members to continue working with officials on the legislative proposal.
The style of working with subcommittees is largely determined by agencies' needs in each case. Subcommittees can work flexibly to take into account timeframes and other factors in the development of legislation. Agencies can engage with subcommittees by meeting in person, phone, or seeking email advice. Generally, a subcommittee will meet with an agency two to three times over the course of developing legislation.
Subcommittees will usually focus on matters identified by agencies in the initial meeting. The role of LDAC and its subcommittees is advisory, and agencies determine whether or how to implement its advice. However, the Committee may make reports to the Attorney-General if it considers that a significant and unjustifiable departure from the LAC Guidelines (2014 edition) has occurred.
Indicating compliance with the LAC Guidelines (2014 edition)
Ministers and their officials must indentify in Cabinet papers seeking approval of Bills for introduction (external link) or authorisation for submitting regulations to the Executive Council (external link) whether any aspects of the legislation depart from the default principles in the LAC Guidelines (2014 edition). Cabinet papers must explain and justify any departures.
For further information about working with LDAC or questions about whether engagement with LDAC is appropriate, please contact the LDAC Secretary.