Significance of Legislation


Law Governs Human Life in All Aspects. Written law governs us before birth, in life, and after death. With growth of human affairs more complex, the importance of legislation is significantly increased. Henry Main, a noted British Jurist, in his comparative study of laws, suggested legislation as one of the most effective and powerful instrument of changing the society.

Courts of each country, where formal judicial institutions are in operation, spend more time interpreting or applying legislation than in any other function. In 1981, Allan Roger, Former Chief legislative Counsel of British Columbia, quoting a letter from Justice Lambert, noted that the British Columbia Court of Appeal dealt with issues of statutory interpretation  in at least 75% of cases heard by it. It can hardly be less today or lower percentage in other jurisdictions. This is not merely a Canadian phenomenon. In recent submission to the Hanshard Society for Parliamentary Government, the English Law Society compared the volume of public Acts in the past 50 years. In the 1940s and 50s the number of pages averaged 1000 year, it has since steadily increased to average 2540 pages a  year in the 1980s. (The Law Society: Reform of the Legislative Process, Submission to the Hansard Society, March 1992, para 3.1) Lord Hailsham of St. Marylebone, then Lord Chancellor, said in his 1983 Hamlyn  lectures that nine out of ten cases heard on appeal before the Court of Appeal and House of Lords either turn up or involve the meaning  of words contained  in enactment of primary or secondary legislation. (Quoted form David C. Elliott, Getting Better  Instructions for Legislative Drafting, 21 October 1992, Victoria British Columbia) Yet, despite its importance and currency, statute law is seen as outside the mainstream of the law. It is paid scant attention by most Universities, most lawyers are ignorant of most of it, and public is either intimidated  or dismissive of it. University law faculties have very rarely interested to encourage students to develop interests on legislative research and principle issues. These facts clearly show the significance of legislation in the life a society.