The Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents (the Law), which was passed in June, aims to enhance the uniformity, transparency, feasibility and effectiveness of and easier access to the legal system.
Being a combination of the 2008 Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents (the 2008 Law) and the 2004 Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents of People’s Councils and People’s Committees (the 2004 Law), the new Law regulates the legislative process at both central and local levels.
With 17 chapters and 173 articles, the Law establishes the principles, competence, forms, order, procedures for formulation and promulgation of legal documents, and responsibilities of state agencies, organizations and individuals in legislative work.
As per the Law, a legal normative document, also called legal document, is the one that contains legal norms and is issued according to the competence, order and procedures and in a form defined in the Law.
The Law has many new provisions on the formulation and promulgation of legal documents.
Fewer types of legal documents
Compared to the 2008 Law and the 2004 Law, the 2015 Law abolishes five types of legal document, including joint resolutions of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly or the Government and a central agency of a socio-political organization, except joint resolutions of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly or the Government and the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front; joint circulars of ministers and heads or ministerial-level agencies; directives of provincial-level People’s Committees; directives of district-level People’s Committees; and directives of commune-level People’s Committees.
However, the Law adds legal documents of local administrations in special administrative-economic units in accordance with the 2013 Constitution.
Greater public involvement in legislative work
The Law has new contents of collection of public opinions during the drafting of legal documents.
During the formulation and promulgation of legal documents, the Law says, the receipt of and response to public comments and proposals must ensure openness and democracy.
The Law makes the compulsory collection of public opinions during the policy formulation and drafting for laws, ordinances, decrees regulating issues specified in Clauses 2 and 3 of Article 19, and resolutions of provincial-level People’s Councils addressing issues specified in Clauses 2, 3 and 4 of Article 27.
The report on impacts of policies introduced in a draft law or ordinance must be posted on the portal of the National Assembly, if it is proposed by the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, Ethnic Council, a Committee of the National Assembly, or National Assembly deputies, or on the portal of the Government, if it is an initiative of the Government, or on the portal of the agency or organization that proposes the draft. The posting must last for at least 30 days.
Addition to collection of opinions from those directly affected by the proposed policies as well as related agencies and organizations, the collection of opinions from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice is compulsory. These ministries shall give their opinions on financial issues, human resources, compatibility with relevant treaties to which Vietnam is a contracting party, and the constitutionality, legality and consistency of the proposed draft document with the legal system.
The contents put up for public comments must be relevant to each target group and focus on important policies directly affecting the business community and the public.
Apart from the posting of the draft on the Internet, opinions may be sought for by direct questioning, circulating the draft around, holding meetings, and using the mass media. Particularly, for draft resolutions of provincial-level People’s Councils, meetings on the proposed policies should be held directly with those directly affected by the policies.
In a bid to address delay in the issuance of implementing regulations, the Law requires draft implementing regulations be prepared and presented together with the draft law. For each enacted law, a list of implementing regulations must be drawn up and the Ministry of Justice is assigned to supervise the issuance of these regulations.
The Law will take effect in July next year.-