What is the Legislation Design and Advisory Committee?

The Legislation Design and Advisory Committee (LDAC) was established in 2015 to build on the work of the former Legislation Advisory Committee (which existed from 1986 to 2015). Its members are appointed by the Attorney-General and consist of senior public service officials and external advisers from the private sector who have expert policy and legislative skills and backgrounds in law, economics, policy and academia.

LDAC meets approximately every six weeks to consider legislative proposals and provide advice to government agencies that are developing policy and legislation. LDAC may also make submissions to select committees, usually on Bills it has not considered before their introduction. LDAC’s terms of reference are to:

(a)  provide advice to departments in the initial stages of developing legislation when legislative proposals and drafting instructions are being prepared, including to:

  • focus on significant or complicated legislative proposals, basic framework/design issues, instrument choice, consistency with fundamental legal and constitutional principles and impact on the coherence of the statute book;
  • assist departments with the allocation of provisions between primary, secondary and tertiary legislation;
  • provide advice on delegated legislative powers;
  • provide advice on the appropriateness of exposure draft bills;

(b)    report to the Attorney-General on departures from the LDAC Guidelines in legislative proposals;

(c)     advise the Attorney-General on any other topics and matters in the field of public law that the Attorney-General from time to time refers to it;

(d)    help improve the quality of law making by helping to ensure that legislation gives clear effect to government policy, ensuring that legislative proposals conform with the LDAC Guidelines and discouraging the promotion of unnecessary legislation;

(e)    scrutinise and make representations to the appropriate body or person on aspects of bills which raise matters of particular public law concern;

(f)      undertake training and education work, relating to LDAC’s role and the LDAC Guidelines.

Working with LDAC

Officials should not wait until legislation is drafted to speak to LDAC. The Committee is available to discuss legislative design issues, including possible departures from these Guidelines, with departments and parliamentary counsel at all stages of the policy and legislative development process. LDAC encourages departments to do so early in the development of policy and legislation, before policy development is too advanced or actions, such as policy decisions or announcements, are made that are difficult to reverse. LDAC may review bills after introduction through its external advisers; however, by this stage it is often too late to address significant design issues. As a result, select committee time will be used to address issues that might otherwise have been avoided.

LDAC assesses legislative proposals and new bills against these Guidelines. It may also comment on any matter relating to a legislative proposal or Bill that it considers appropriate in the interests of encouraging high quality legislation.

Further information about working with LDAC is available on its website.

LDAC Contact

Address: LDAC Secretary Parliamentary Counsel Office Level 13, Reserve Bank Building 2 The Terrace PO Box 18 070 Wellington 6160 New Zealand

Telephone: +64 4 472 9639

Email: Contact.LDAC@pco.govt.nz

Website: www.ldac.org.nz (external link)

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