National Regulatory Control Council

Expert report

Content First, Legal Text Second

Laws are important means to bring policies into life. The quality of laws has tremendous consequences for the effectiveness and practicability of political programmes. In Germany, 80 percent of the bills introduced in parliament are drafted by the federal ministries. Thus, preparing bills and drafting law is an important “business process” of government. Even though the conditions under which policies are formed have changed a lot, the way laws are drafted has remained essentially unchanged since the Federal Republic of Germany was founded 70 years ago.

The NKR has commissioned a freshly published report that aims to analyse this law making process. The report “Content First, Legal Text Second” is motivated by the NKR’s perception that politicians and policy makers in the ministries have trouble to prepare well targeted and practicable laws. This has repercussions for the capability and performance of the state as well as for the approval of politics in general. If laws become too complex, if they are not comprehensible and practicable, their implementation is not only costly, but is jeopardised altogether. Besides analysing the status quo, the report aims to present recommendations on how policies can become more effective and practicable.

The report was presented to the federal government on October 22nd and also submitted to members of parliament.