The Law Reform Commission (LRC) has inducted into office the leadership of the first class of legislative drafters.
Legislative drafters are individuals all of whom don’t necessarily have law backgrounds, but have backgrounds in other disciplines, and are employees of various government ministries and agencies.
They are undergoing a vigorous seven hours a day, month-long training on how to do legislative drafting. The 35 member are being trained under the auspices of the LRC.
The LRC is statutorily mandated to lead the law reform process of Liberia by reviewing the laws, proposing amendments where necessary and ensuring that the laws are modernized to meet contemporary times.
To meet this objective, LRC has to meet with various stakeholders, who have interests and parts to play in drafting laws.
This has, however, become difficult for the LRC because a lot of the times when instruments to be enacted into law are sent to them, they (instruments) are “very poorly drafted and they would have to be drafted over,” according to Cllr. Jallah Barbue, Chairman of the LRC.
Dr. Barbue said there is so much pressure on the Commission that they are not able to keep redrafting laws from scratch. According to him, because of some delays, tension has erupted between the LRC and some of their partners and others with interests in the law.
“So, on that basis, we realized that rather than just leading the process of drafting and redrafting, it is important that we have documents (coming) from trusted individuals at public institutions and agencies, who already have basic ideas of what to do. So it’s on that basis that we thought that we should conduct a training of this nature,” he stated.
The 30+ members of the first class elected Attorney Nadia S. Kamara, President; Rev. Melvin Kennedy, Vice President and Matthew N. Kumeh, Secretary General.
The induction ceremony was performed by Nimba County Dist. #7 Representative Wolea-Sawah Dunah. He said the idea of the legislative drafting training, from their experience at the Capitol, is a necessity.
“We want to commend the LRC for organizing this one,” he added.
“This training focuses on the critical works that we were elected to do.”
In her inauguration speech, Attorney Kamara raised the concern of what becomes of them after their training as legislative drafters is over at the end of October.
“Do we go on our own, doing our usual tasks at our various institutions? Will we receive the requisite recommendations from the government and thereby be placed in appropriate institutions in order to utilize our knowledge?” she asked.
She told her colleagues that they should be aware that as legislative drafters, they have the responsibility to construct legislations, which have effects on government policies and to communicate the law “clearly to people who are affected by it, to the officials who administer it and to the judges who interpret and apply the law.”
Madam Kamara is from the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL), Rev. Kennedy from is the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, while Mr. Kumeh works at the House of Representatives.
In response, LRC vice Chairperson, Cllr, Deweh E. Gray said “We have plans that after the third week of the training, you are going to be placed in your various institutions where you will be able to put into practice what you have learned over two week (s).”
Cllr. Gray said the reason is to evaluate the trainees and will also help them in strengthening the training and filling in gaps.