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Legislative Drafting: IALS Library Guides

An introduction to the library's holdings on legislative drafting

Legislative Drafting

Guide last updated March 2023

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This guide was created by Katherine Read, Principal Library Assistant at the IALS Library.


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In this guide

This guide aims to give a brief introduction to the Library's holdings on Legislative Drafting. Please consult the Library Catalogue for complete information on current titles and locations. If you require further assistance please contact us.

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Introduction to the Library Catalogue

This Subject Guide only lists a selection of Library resources on Legislative Drafting. To find additional resources you will need to search the Library Catalogue, which covers the complete holdings of the Library. It is possible to search for books, journals and series of law reports by author, title or keyword. Please note it is not possible to search for individual chapters, journal articles or legislation (e.g. individual Acts or SIs).

IALS Library is mainly open access and readers are able to browse the shelves in the main collection. There are two main exceptions to this:

  • Older items (marked RES or Depository on the catalogue record) are kept in the closed basement.
  • Key texts for LLM students are often kept in the Short Loan collection.

Please request these at the Library Enquiry Desk.

For more information on understanding the catalogue record and further guidance on the location of materials please refer to our guide Classmarks and the Location of Resources in the Library.


The Library classifies textbooks either by jurisdiction (GO13, GA2 etc.) or according to subject area, examples of which include Comparative Law (SB), Public International Law (SG) and Private International Law/ Conflict of Laws (SH). . All classmark sections have a FOL section for oversize volumes, which is located on the same floor of the Library.

When you are searching the Library Catalogue for books, please note that only the current edition is held on the open shelves or in the Short Loan collection. IALS has a rich collection of previous editions held in the closed basement and these will display a Depository number on the catalogue. Please request previous editions from the Library Enquiry Desk.

Comparative legislative drafting material is shelved at SB25

Textbooks for Common law countries are shelved at SJ275

European Union textbooks on legislative drafting are shelved at GO1.A1.C.6

The following list represents a selection of textbooks on legislative drafting. Please check the catalogue records for further information and location. Titles marked as e-books may also be available in print. Access from home requires your IALS library barcode and your  family name.  E books with 'open access' status on the catalogue are available to all users of this guide. 

Bailey, D. and others   Bennion, Bailey & Norbury  on statutory interpretation 8th ed. 2020    Lexis 

Brazier, A. et al. Law in the making: influence and change in the legislative process. 2008

Butt, P. & Castle, R. Modern legal drafting: a guide to using clearer language.   3rd ed. 2013

Calnan, R.  Principles of statutory interpretation  2023 OUP e-book

Crabbe, V. Legislative drafting  1993

Derlén, M. Multinational interpretation of European Union law  2009

Ekins, R. Nature of legislative intent  2013  OUP (e-book)

Goddard, D. Making laws work : ways laws fail and how we can do better  2022 Hart  (e-book)

Greenberg, D. Craies on legislation: a practitioners’ guide to the nature, process, effect and interpretation of legislation. 12th ed. 2020

Karpen, U. & Xanthaki, H.  Legislation in Europe: a country by country guide  2020 Hart  (e-book)

Lowe, D. Understanding legislation: a practical guide to statutory interpretation 2018 (e-book)

Pozzo, B. & Jacometti, V. ed. Multilingualism and the harmonisation of European law.  2006

Salembier, P. Legal and legislative drafting  2nd ed. 2018

Seidman, A. et al. Legislative drafting for democratic social change: a manual for drafters  2001

Stefanou, C. & Xanthaki, H. Drafting legislation: a modern approach. 2008

Stefanou, C. & Xanthaki, H. Manual in legislative drafting 2005

Thornton, G.C. & Xanthaki, H. Thornton's legislative drafting. 6th ed. 2022  Bloomsbury (e-book)

Uhlmann, F. and Hofler, T. Professional legislative drafters: status, roles, education  2016

Xanthaki, H. Enhancing legislative drafting in the Commonwealth: a wealth of innovation  2014

Zander, M. The Law-making process   8th ed. 2020


IALS Library holds a wide selection of current serial titles on legislative drafting from many different jurisdictions. These are located on all floors of the Library. Some titles are only in printed volumes while others or available in both formats. For more detailed help, please refer to the guide on Finding journal articles. The following titles focus particularly on  legislative drafting but there may be relevant articles in less specialised journals.

CALC - Loophole  open access

European journal of law reform e-journal

International and comparative law quarterly e-journal

Journal of legislative studies e-journal

Statute law review  e-journal

Theory and practice of legislation  e-journal

Legislation and law reports

If you are interested in legislation or cases concerning legislative drafting issues in specific countries you will need to consult the legislation or law reports for that jurisdiction.

Consult the Library Catalogue to find the general classmark for the country you require. Consult consolidations of legislation, digests or indexes to trace particular acts or cases.

Academic users may also use databases like Lexis/Westlaw to find UK, US, EU or international decisions. For further information please refer to Law Databases or ask at the Library Enquiry Desk.

You may also find it useful to refer to our guides on finding Legislation and Cases or check to see if we have a Jurisdiction Research Guide for the country you are interested in.

Free internet sources

Eagle-i is an internet portal maintained and updated by IALS library staff. It allows you to search for quality web resources on legislative drafting.

A valuable free source is BAILII, the British and Irish Legal information Institute which is based and maintained at IALS. It provides free access to full text UK judgments and legislation on a wide range of subjects including and also links to other free World Law databases. Jurisdictions covered in these resources include Commonwealth countries eg. AustLII  (Australia) and CanLII (Canada), France, Germany, Italy, the USA and South Africa.

The following represent a sample of the available quality individual web resources on legislative drafting:

CALC: Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel: Promotes cooperation amongst people in the Commonwealth involved in legislative drafting.

CALC publishes a free online journal ‘Loophole’ with full text articles in Word and PDF formats.

Globalex guide to researching the drafting history of international agreements (Travaux Préparatoires) by Jonathan Pratter. Updated in 2021

The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel at the Cabinet Office: A group of lawyers who specialise in drafting legislation. Gives access to documents concerning the process of drafting and the work of the department.

Statute Law Review aims to further the study of legislative drafting, statutory interpretation and the process of parliamentary scrutiny. Full text access is available to academic users onsite. Please check the library catalogue for details of offsite access