The definition of Common Legal Drafting Rules for the Portuguese-speaking Countries and Regions started with the assembling of a “Lisbon Team” of scholars and specialists in legal drafting and a team of specialist from all the countries and regions, together with a high profile team of international consultants. The status of the legal drafting rules in each of the legal orders was studied and common standards, differences, and innovations were identified. The project will evolve in phases: A general approach where simplicity and clarity, the construction of legal provisions or the use of our common language is in focus; A second phase, centered in the architecture and the systematics of legal acts; A third phase, regarding legal reforms, legislative consolidation, simplification programmes and other instruments available. The paper discusses the methodological approach followed, present the results achieved and collect contributions for the improvement of the project.
The objective of the Common Legal Drafting Rules for the Portuguese-speaking countries and regions project is clear: the determination of common rules and standards for legal drafting in the Portuguese-speaking legal systems. The idea is to take advantage of the common basis present in all the legal systems with a Lusophone basis to, in an academic dialogue between researchers and specialists from each system, to agree on general standards applicable to all the Portuguese-speaking countries and regions. Several outcomes are possible. The writing and publishing of the resulting text may play the role of a “reference book regarding the legislation drafting in the Lusophone space”. But is this academic agreement destined to be some kind of soft law or may legal drafting rules be established through an international convention? Is a decision by the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP) in this area possible? What is the international law framework for this matter?
This paper is aimed at presenting the status of legislative drafting rules, standards and guidelines in Portuguese speaking countries and regions where more than 250 million people reside.
Those standards are set forth in a collection of laws and guidelines which vary in its form, its legal value (hard or soft law) and scope from one legal order to the other. In a relevant number of cases the rules are very close with some minor differences, seemingly having evolved from the same shared roots or inspiration. However, there are exceptions: for instance the Brazilian rules are notably different from the other legal orders. Cases of bi-lingual legal orders, like the Macao and Timor-Leste cases, or Portugal’s EU integration also present the need for different solutions. It is possible to identify similarities in the legal culture of the several Portuguese-speaking countries and regions, which encourages the development of a potential common space of cooperation and legal integration.