An increasingly challenging role

The drafting counsel has become more involved at the initial stages of formulating a legislative scheme. Accelerating globalisation, ever more intense regional and global competition and technological advances all call for prompt government responses to changing circumstances. To cope with the shorter time available for drafting legislation, the drafting counsel now takes an earlier opportunity to study and understand the policy thinking behind a proposal, even before it has become definitive, and to raise his or her concerns on it from the drafting perspective.

Further, as legislation is scrutinised more vigorously, the drafting counsel spends more time on providing professional support in the legislative process as a Bill progresses to enactment. The drafting counsel often has to work closely with the responsible policy bureau and other divisions of the Department, either in the preparation of papers dealing with issues raised by Members of the Legislative Council, or when attending briefing sessions for Members of the Executive Council or Legislative Council as part of the government team promoting the Bill. The drafting counsel may have to provide papers to a Bills Committee to explain drafting issues in which the committee has shown particular interest.