1.Background and Rationale

The government of Rwanda and private sector are in dire need of professional legislative drafters. The drafting skills of Rwandan civil servants at Rwanda Law Reform Commission , other ministries, public institutions , parliament  and private sector is unfortunately not yet at the level that should be expected. The vast majority of the legislative drafters have only very little experience, as lawyers but even less as legislative drafters. Legislative Drafting is a field of law that requires special skills in that domain.

Much of the responsibility for drafting falls on the Legal Advisors in line ministries. These lawyers have little to formal drafting training, and often no drafting experience. This means that either the law is poorly drafted, or the law is drafted by an outside consultant who is inexperienced with the substantive area of the law. While a consultant can theoretically provide a high-quality draft, often it may be that he or she does not meet the high performance standards public servants in Rwanda are held to, but rather simply provided the lowest bid in the tender process. In particular, foreign consultants may not be familiar with the Rwandan legal context or style, or issues particular to Rwanda in the area in which they are drafting.

Considering the fact that most of the Rwandan lawyers involved in drafting laws have not been trained in Legislative Drafting, ILPD started, in 2012, a Diploma in Legislative Drafting (DLD).

The program was accredited by the Higher Council of Education in 2011.

2.Programme Learning Outcome

2.1 Knowledge and understanding

-At the end of the programme, students should be able to:

-Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the theory behind professional skills acquired during the programme;

-The principle objectives for which drafters should work   and   the   fundamental practices that are most likely to contribute to achieving them;

-Know the concepts and terminology related to legislation and legislative drafting;

-Know research techniques to analyse problems;

-Know   the different roles and   duties of legislative drafters, and   the relationship towards policy makers;

-Know  the  various types  of legislative instruments  in  use  in  Rwanda and  the  East African  Community member states,  and  related rules  and  conventions, as  well  as other  international instruments.

2.2 Cognitive/Intellectual skills/Application of Knowledge

At the end of the programme, students should be able to:

-Identify the major steps in the legislative drafting process;

-Recognize actual drafter professional responsibility;

-Relate with policy makers;

-Translate social problems into legislation;

-Identify and use various sources for research;

-Implement the basic legislative drafting requirements;

-Follow and apply fundamental principles and rules of legislative drafting;

-Draft legislation in plain language, and consistent in terminology, usage and style;

-Identify the general principles of statutory interpretation;

-Identify the applicability of international instruments, and interpret its meaning for Rwanda;

-Apply the rules and principles of good governance;

2.3 Communication/ICT/Numeracy/Analytic Techniques/Practical Skills

At the end of the programme, students should be able to:

-Describe the legislative process in Rwanda, and the different roles of drafters in the different governmental institutions;

-Communicate with clients in a manner that is tactful, diplomatic and effective;

-Assess social and financial costs of legislation

-Use technology for effective legislative research;

-Write draft legislation or legislative provisions;

-Demonstrate (basic) proficiency in computer skills;

-Organise legislative provisions into a coherent and structured law;

-Explain    to   clients   the   general principles of   statutory interpretation, and   the consequences in practice;

-Explain to clients and other various aspects of international instruments.

2.4 General transferable skills

At the end of the programme, students should be able to:

-Distinguish between the role of a legislative drafter and the role of the policymaker;

-Distinguish between legal drafting and legislative drafting;

-Work effectively and competently, even under pressure time or other pressures.

-Identify and use different available research tools;

-Lay  out  the  fundamentals of Rwandan and  East  African  Community law  as  they relate  to drafting;

-Build on prior legal knowledge and experience, in both a legislative and Rwandan context.

-Apply knowledge of Rwandan law to new circumstances and legislative situations.

-Apply the  basic  principles of  legislative syntax   and   expression to  the  writing  of legislative sentences, and  select,  compose, and  combine the  components of simple legislative sentences.

-Conduct online and library-based legal research;

-Write and edit draft legislation using clear and consistent legislative language and stylistic methods;

-Draft or edit a legislative document that is well organized and structured.

-Draft and prepare legislation that   takes   into account the principles of statutory interpretation in order to anticipates and avoid potential problems of interpretation.

-Draft and prepare   legislation that    takes    into    account   the   rules and other considerations applicable to, or as a result   of, international instruments to which Rwanda is a party.

-Take into account the drafter’s responsibility when carrying out public duties with respect to draft legislation.

3.Program structure

DLD programe is delivered in module divisions.

Module 1: General Context of Legislation. This module deals with an overview of the modules in the diploma course; Administrative and housekeeping issues; the meaning of legislation and legislative drafting; Comparative analysis of common law and civil law; Role of the legislative drafter within the legislative process in Rwanda; A history of laws and legislation in Rwanda and the EAC; Sources, types and hierarchy of law in Rwanda; Legislative process and procedures in Rwanda; Fundamentals of Rwandan law; Fundamentals of EAC law.

Module 2: Professional Responsibility: This module deals with the role of drafter; the professional responsibilities of drafters; Conflicts of interest; the boundaries within which drafters must operate and the practical ways to anticipate, avoid, and resolve professional responsibility problems ((specifically, self-preservation for the drafter).

Module 3: Policy Development and the Problem Solving Approach. This module deals with an introduction to the Problem-Solving Approach to legislation; identifying the problem as a step of the problem- solving approach; Explanations as a step of problem solving; Monitoring and evaluation as a step of problem solving; and Public lecture on policy development from a Rwandan practical approach.

Module 4: Research before Drafting and Use of IT. This module deals with Putting draft legislation in context ; Identify and use legal research resources; Sources of comparative law ; Best practice for computer filing; The Legislative Drafting Support System (Efficient office standards and procedures) and Use of forms and templates; Tracking the status of legislation in Rwanda).

Module 5: Fundamental Principles of Drafting Legislation. This module deals with the legislative sentence, including its syntax and style; Legislative style of writing; Ways to achieve clarity in drafting; The plain-language style of drafting; Importance of consistency in terminology, usage, and style; Legislative drafting rules and conventions used in Rwanda; Legislative drafting rules and conventions used in Rwanda, the East African Community, and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Module 6: Subsidiary Legislation. This module deals with terminology; regulations and rule making; special considerations when drafting regulations and other subsidiary legislation; adherence to the authorizing law; the application and enforcement of legislation; delegation of authority, limitations on delegation of authority; Subnational legislation (for example, regional or local), authority, methods, and processes.

Module 7: Organization and Structure of Legislation. This module deals with organization generally; hierarchy and numbering of the parts of a law or regulation; Building blocks of legislation; Grouping and ordering of provisions; Using reading aids, like tables of contents and headings, to assist understanding the structure and content of legislation; Basic structure of a legislative document and Detailed structure of a legislative document.

Module 8: Amendment and Repeal. This module deals with Terminology; Different types or categories of amendments; What to do when the draft legislation conflicts with existing law; Methods of amendment; Drafting amendatory (amending) or repealing language; The mechanics of amendment; Judicial decisions as a source of law (and changes to law through interpretation); Codification, consolidation, law reform,  and law revision and Publishing compilations of laws.

Module 9: Statutory Interpretation. This module deals with relationship between legislative drafting and statutory interpretation; How is legislation (in general, not a specific draft) interpreted in Rwanda?; Understanding how the target “audience” for the legislation will interpret the legislative language; Who is interpreting a legislative document?, the drafters and policymakers, the persons subject to regulation under the law, the governmental agency implementing the law; the courts interpreting the law; Who does the interpretation in practice?; What improvements could be made to aid in statutory interpretation in Rwanda?; Rules of construction and general principles (canons) of statutory interpretation, in line with international norms and consistent with relevant canons of interpretation developed judicially in common law countries.

Module 10: International Instruments. This module deals with the types of international instruments; terminology of international instruments; Role of international organizations; processes and procedures applicable to international instruments in Rwanda; International instruments applicable to Rwanda; Sources and methods for researching international instruments and Legislative obligations under international instruments (Harmonization, domestication.); Compliance with (non-legislative) obligations under international instruments; Interpretation of international instruments, in accordance with applicable international law, such as the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969 and other interpretation by relevant international organizations; Considerations regarding East African Community treaties and obligations (for example, regional economic integration and drafting of laws).

Module 11: Good Governance. This module deals with principle of the separation of powers (legislative, executive, and judicial authorities), what is the significance of separation of powers? How is this applicable in Rwanda? Are there areas of power overlaps in Rwanda?; Oversight of the Government by the Parliament (and the courts); Public participation in the law-making process; the importance of a “paper trail” for the sake of openness, and for better interpretation of legislation; openness through reporting and Drafter’s accountability.

Module 12: Translation Matters. This module deals with rules regarding inconsistencies among the different language versions; Rules regarding drafting, consideration, approval, and publication in multiple official languages; Understanding the meaning in the principle drafting language; Consultation with drafter(s); The drafter’s responsibility to assist translator(s); Translation standards and consistency; Matters of layout and style when dealing with multiple languages; Official (and unofficial) translations of international instruments. Who does the official translation? What to do when there is not a version in one or more official language; Translation issues in the laws of other East African countries.


For program inquiries please contact:


The Academic Dean/ILPD

Telephone: +250788353572,

Email: sadiki.bagwaneza@ilpd.ac.rw