In April 2008, the International Republican Institute (IRI) organized a five day workshop on legislative drafting for members and staff of the Omani Majlis al-Shura and staff from the Ministry of Legal Affairs. As in most parliamentary systems, cabinet ministries play a central role in the legislative process; under Omani law, the Majlis al-Shura, the lower elected house of parliament, has the power to review and and amend legislation. Therefore, the combined training, among the first of its kind, brought together both executive and legislative branches of government.
The training was led by Dr. Mahmoud Sabra, IRI’s legislative consultant, who combined theoretical and practical exercises, giving specific attention to technical writing and solution based drafting. Dr. Sabra used several examples from the region to illustrate how lack of attention or detail often limits legislation and may even render it useless. He also drew upon current Omani law to show the difference between legislation that expresses a wish, an ideal and statement versus legislation that specifically seeks to solve a problem by laying out details of what is and is not allowed, proper procedures and punishment for breaking the law.
A legislative drafting manual specifically tailored for the Omani Majlis, based on the country’s laws, was created and distributed to the participants. The training was well received by the participants and the Minister of Legal Affairs requested manuals to distribute within his office.
The training is the latest in a series on legislative research and analytical writing that aims at developing the institutional capacity of the Majlis.Top