On 21 April 2015, Politics Plus was delighted to host an intensive one day workshop entitled ‘Collaborative Law Making in Northern Ireland’.
Legislative drafters from across the world had spent the previous week in Edinburgh attending the annual conference of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel. Over 60 made the onward journey to Parliament Buildings to hear presentations on the legislative process in Northern Ireland, the increasing focus on collaborative practices and the role of Assembly legal advisers in terms of assessing legislative competence. Over lunch, participants had the opportunity to meet with MLAs and gain first hand insight into the needs of legislators.
The event concluded with speeches from Trevor Reaney, Clerk/Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Peter Quiggin, First Parliamentary Counsel for Australia, and Dr Malcolm McKibbin, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. Such was the geographical spread of delegates, Dr McKibbin remarked that by the time they return home they will have collectively travelled over 500,000 miles to attend these events. In contrast to the serious discussions that characterised most of the day, delegates made their return journey to Belfast City centre in an open top bus. This afforded them the opportunity to take in many of the key sights, including Saint Anne’s Cathedral, Titanic Belfast and the Crumlin Road Jail.