Laws should be sufficiently specific to ensure meaningful regulations

Sep 22, 2016

An international workshop “Urgent issues for further enhancement of evaluation of draft legislation” on September 22, 2016 brought together a broad range of experts in the fields of law and policy, as well as representatives of the government and diplomatic community in Tashkent.

Organized by Ministry of Justice, Institute for Monitoring Current Legislation (IMCL) under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, UNDP in Uzbekistan and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation at the Wyndham Hotel in Tashkent, the event was attended by members of the Senate and the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis (Parliament), representatives of ministries and agencies, international and public organizations, members of the UK Parliament, UK Ambassador Mr. Christopher Allan, representatives of Research service of Parliament of Germany, and experts from Korea, representing Ministry of Government Legislation, Research Service of National Assembly and Korea Legislation Research Institute.

The seminar kicked off with welcome remarks by conveners, namely the representatives of Ministry of Justice, IMCL, UNDP and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s regional office in Uzbekistan.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Priesner pointed out that the quality of regulatory policy, i.e. quality of laws and regulations is a key element of the country’s central vision articulated by the late President Karimov. In this context he expressed appreciation to the Ministry of Justice and the Institute for Monitoring of Current Legislation as well as the Parliament, who are actively involved in improvement of law-making and rulemaking, be it legal scrutiny, regulatory impact assessment, anti-corruption proofing or other regulatory policy issues in line with strategic priorities of the country.

He also stressed that Evidence-based impact assessment, adequate institutional capacities, attention to the voice of users and to international standards will benefit the quality of new laws and regulations and UNDP will continue to support the efforts of Government of Uzbekistan to boost the quality and effectiveness of legislation and regulatory policy.
(please see full speech http://www.uz.undp.org/content/uzbekistan/en/home/presscenter/speeches/2016/09/22/stefan- Priesner -opening-remarks-for-the-international-workshop-/)

One of the key speakers of the seminar Mr. Andrew Bridgen, Chairman of Regulatory Reform committee of House of Commons of United Kingdom Parliament highlighted best practice of UK Parliament and Government and scrutiny mechanisms used to provide high quality of regulations and legal acts. British expert also described the role of Regulatory Reform Committee of Lower House of UK Parliament in assessment of draft legislation in enhancing the quality of lawmaking.

Particularly, he noted that UK Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory burdens remains strong and has moved from a “one in, one out” policy, to “one in, two out” policy in the last Parliament. Indeed the Government are now looking at a “one in, three out” rule for non-manifesto legislative changes. The direction of travel is to create a less onerous framework of regulation while still protecting consumer rights and standards.

He emphasized on importance of a close and creative relationship between Parliament and Government in UK with recognition that both parties are pulling in the same direction when it comes to regulations with the checks and balances proving vital to proper scrutiny.

In addition, he noted that current Government has set itself bold targets when it comes to deregulation and regulatory reform. The Business Impact Target (BIT) aims to reduce the cost of regulation by £10 billion over the course of the 2015 Parliament. This would follow the £2 billion per annum in the last Parliament

Mr. Bridgen underlined that however there is still much to do with over 10% of businesses saying that regulation is their greatest challenge, 73% stating they could grow faster if dealing with regulators was easier and 51% seeing regulation as an obstacle to success. It is small business that bears the brunt of this facing 10 times the cost of complying with a regulatory duty than a big business.

At the end, he summed up with statement that it is not the fact that more laws and regulations mean better laws and regulations. If a regulation is brought in, it must be tested for its impact and existing regulations and laws must be either reformed or removed to retain a competitive economy and effective legislative system.

In order to further improve the assessment of draft regulations, sharing good practices has critical role. Particularly, the Director of Bureau of Legislation Support of the Ministry of Government legislation of Korea Han Yong Su highlighted the experience of the Republic of Korea in public consultations of draft legal acts, adoption of laws of direct-action, the role of research services in the information and analytical support for the legislative process.

Dr. Franziska Brand, representative of Department for Parliamentary Law of Administration of the German Bundestag informed on current practice and effective tools of legal screening of draft legislation in Bundestag.

During the international workshop, participants were informed about the essence and the value of successive reforms held in the country in the context of the tasks set out in the speech of the late President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the solemn meeting dedicated to the 23rd anniversary of the country's Constitution.

Participants emphasized on importance revealing so called "blank spots" in current legislation, as well as norms and risks that create conditions for corruption and other criminal offenses in the public administration system. In this regard, such urgent issues as implementation of regulatory impact assessment, as well as anticorruption screening and scrutiny have become vital important and must be widely discussed and the best practices of foreign democratic countries in this regard should be studied as well.

Practical proposals and recommendations were devised for further improvement of quality of departmental rulemaking, diminishing the regulatory burden on businesses, further implementation of Regulatory Impact Assessment tools and anti-corruption scrutiny in line with best international practices, as well as measures to strengthen the capacity of regulations drafting state agencies. All participants expressed confidence that the ideas and proposals received during this international seminar will positively contribute to drafting effective measures for further enhancement of the legislative process and regulatory environment in Uzbekistan.

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