Professor Grabham to explore legal and technical expertise of legislative drafters

Kent Law School Professor Emily Grabham has been awarded £2.9k for an innovative research project to analyse the legal and technical expertise of legislative drafters.

The award of £2,917.70 from the University’s Faculty Research Fund will enable Professor Grabham to conduct interviews with legislative drafters in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It’s the first systematic empirical study of its kind to consider how the legal and technical expertise of legislative drafters impacts the effectiveness of legislative texts. Her work will inform scholarly debates and will enable a better understanding of how law is shaped in the UK.

Professor Grabham said: ‘Legislative drafting is vitally important to a range of political and regulatory questions. For example, the technical details of the EU Withdrawal Bill are under wide public scrutiny as the UK prepares to leave the EU. This study will contribute rich new material to current debates about the creation, form, appearance, and logic of legal documents: what legal documents can and should do in the light of concerns about legal transparency, coherence, and social effects.’

She will be working in collaboration with experts at the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies in London in 2019, the UK’s only dedicated research and teaching centre for legislative drafting. A workshop to be hosted at the centre in 2019, will give academics, legislative drafters and other legal professionals an opportunity to provide further input into the project.

Professor Grabham conducted a pilot project on legislative drafting in 2015. The academic article that she wrote for Economy and Society (Volume 45) as a result of this pilot earned her the 2018 Socio-Legal Article Prize from the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA). A further article is planned at the conclusion of this current project and Professor Grabham hopes to secure additional funding that will enable her to advance the project to the next stage.

Professor Grabham is Co-Director of Research at Kent Law School. She has research interests in how concepts of time influence law. Other research interests include labour law and feminist legal theory. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to legal analysis and is a co-investigator on the Future of Legal Gender (FLaG) research project which aims to critically explore different ways of reforming gender in UK law.