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What is the Legislation Advisory Committee?
The Legislation Advisory Committee (“LAC”) was established in 1986. Its members are appointed by the Attorney-General and consist of senior government legal advisers, academics and private practitioners. The LAC meets approximately every six weeks to consider bills that have been tabled and regularly makes submissions to, and appears before, select committees to comment on particular bills. The terms of reference of the LAC are:
- to provide advice to departments on the development of legislative proposals and on drafting instructions to the Parliamentary Counsel Office;
- to report to the Attorney-General on the public law aspects of legislative proposals that the Attorney-General refers to it;
- to 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;
- to scrutinise and make submissions to the appropriate body or person on aspects of Bills introduced into Parliament that affect public law or raise public law issues;
- to help improve the quality of law making by attempting to ensure that legislation gives clear effect to government policy, ensuring that legislative proposals conform with the LAC Guidelines and discouraging the promotion of unnecessary legislation.
Working with the LAC
Officials do not need to wait until a bill is drafted to speak to the LAC. The Committee is available to discuss legislative design issues, including possible departures from these Guidelines, with departments at all stages of the legislative development process. The LAC encourages departments to do so before policy development is too advanced or actions, such as policy announcements, are made that are difficult to reverse. The LAC will continue to review bills after introduction; 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.
Address: LDAC Secretary, Parliamentary Counsel Office, PO Box 18 070, Wellington 6160
Facsimile: +64 4 499 1724