The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has recently put forward two options on revision of the 2015 Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents, focusing on enhancing the responsibility of drafting agencies for the quality of their law-making work.
Under the current Law, after draft laws and ordinances are tabled to the National Assembly (NA) for discussion, agencies and organizations submitting such drafts will be considered having fulfilled their tasks while the responsibility to assimilate NA deputies’ opinions and revise the drafts will vested in NA’s verifying agencies.
The MOJ now proposes changes in such process.
Under the first option, the responsibility to revise drafts based on NA’s contributions would shift to draft-submitting agencies, organizations or NA deputies. However, the NA Standing Committee would still direct the acceptance of opinions and revision of draft laws and ordinances. In case the NA Standing Committee or Government, for drafts not submitted by the Government, and submitting agencies hold different opinions on the same matters, such would be reported to the NA for consideration and decision. Verifying agencies would join hands with submitting agencies in revising draft laws and ordinances. If they cannot reach agreement, they would report to the NA Standing Committee for decision.
As per the second option, the current process would be kept unchanged but new regulations would be added to enhance the responsibilities of, and improve effectiveness of coordination among, verifying agencies and submitting agencies in the process of revising draft laws and ordinances. Accordingly, verifying agencies would still take the prime charge of revising draft laws and ordinances, but the revision must be conducted with the participation of draft-submitting agencies, organizations or NA deputies. The NA’s Committee on Laws, MOJ and other related agencies and organizations would also participate in the revision. In case of arising divergence between submitting agencies and verifying agencies, the two agencies would report it to the NA Standing Committee.
According to the MOJ, the first option may help ensure continuity and consistency in the legislative process, from the step of law- and ordinance-making proposals to formulating, submitting and revising drafts. It also conforms with the 2013 Constitution’s principles of assigning tasks and controlling powers among state agencies. However, if this option is selected, the workload of the Government will considerably increase. In addition, operational processes of NA agencies and working regulations of the Government would have to be adjusted to suit new provisions.
For the time being, the second option is backed by many legal experts. According to the Vietnam Bar Federation, NA’s verifying agencies should take the final touch on draft laws and ordinances as currently because the main function and task of the NA are to make law. In order to raise the quality of laws and ordinances, there is no other way but improving coordination among related agencies.
The draft will be brought up for discussion at the 8th session of the NA in October.- (VLLF)