This is a single section from Chapter 3. Read the full chapter here.

Has all relevant existing legislation been identified and considered?

Any existing legislation that relates to the same matters or implements similar policies to those of the proposed legislation should be identified.

[Link to supplementary material: Bespoke legislative solutions]

Almost all new legislation will deal with matters that are governed to some extent by other legislation. Existing relevant legislation should be identified early in the development process so that any interactions or conflicts can be identified and addressed. In some cases, legislation that implements similar policies to that of the proposed legislation may provide a useful precedent.

If existing legislation is to be heavily amended (or it is already old or heavily amended), consideration should be given to replacing it instead. A key factor to consider is accessibility. If multiple amendments will cause the resulting law to be so complex it becomes difficult to understand, replacing the legislation should be preferred. Complexity can arise through grafting new policies onto existing frameworks so that the overall coherence of the legislation is lost. On the other hand, accessibility should be balanced against any disadvantage in disrupting settled understandings of the law. Advice on this matter should be sought from the Parliamentary Counsel Office (the PCO).

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