Quality of Law-Making and Administrative Capability of the State
The article is based on a survey carried out in 1999 to analyse 156 draft laws submitted to the Riigikogu with respect to their conformity to the requirements of content of the legal acts regulating the legislative activities of the Riigikogu and the Government, and to the methods for the assessment of the impact of regulations in selected OECD countries.
The author proceeds from a thesis that the problems of administrative capability and legitimacy of the Estonian public sector (incl. the legal system) arise often from the shortcomings in the preparation stage of draft laws – mistakes in political and administrative planning result later during the application of national or international law in budgetary extra costs, management of state agencies, and mismatches between different sectors.
The role of explanatory notes to draft laws is to present both to the parliament and the general public in a clear way information about political goals and legal, budgetary, social, and organisational changes accompanying the implementation of the legal act, because draft laws themselves are available in the Internet to all actors in the public sphere. Without sufficient public information it is difficult to talk about transparency in the political decision-making process and advantages of participatory democracy, for which the legislators are morally obliged by the provision contained in the general part of the Estonian Constitution saying that the highest power is vested in the people, and the requirement of § 44 on the availability of information concerning the public.
Based on the study of the explanations it may be concluded that in the law-making process in Estonia the prognosis of social-economic and budgetary effects of legislation, the use of procedures characteristic of participatory democracy, and the comparison of draft laws with international law is so far not sufficiently systematic in Estonia, but preconditions for a qualitative leap do exist. The author hopes that the given study, generalisations and proposals can be used both for the assessment of the law-making process in Estonia until now, as well as for the elaboration of the next stage development plans. The author also makes a proposal to start a national programme for the quality of legislation that would be focused on the methods and requirements of analysis of regulations (see also http://www.riigikogu.ee/osakonnad/msi/4001.html p. 7.1-7.7).