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Today in a conversation with  +John Sheridan of The National Archives and Richard Heaton of the UK Cabinet Office, I learned about the concept of "Good Law"  (designated by the hashtag   #goodlaw   https://twitter.com/search?q=%23goodlaw  ) which I saw John had been referring to recently.  They explained that "good law" is a new idea that they are currently developing, and that has (at least) three aspects:

Quality of substantive legislation, in terms of appropriateness, effectiveness, etc.;

Complexity of legislation: When is complexity in legislation a bad thing? What are the causes of complexity?

Intellectual accessibility or Readability, for example in terms of principles of plain language, etc., and

Technological accessibility: in terms of retrievability, usability, etc.

(And I hope John will correct me if I've gotten this wrong.) This is, I think, a very intriguing idea, particularly for the legal informatics community, because our members include those who work on improving technological accessibility and usability of electronic legal information, and those who work on making the law more comprehensible to the public, through means such as public legal education and the promotion of plain language principles. So Good Law has the potential to engage many subgroups within and near our field, including legal informatics scholars, developers of legal information systems, the free access to law community, the plain legal language community, law librarians, advocates of democracy and of public participation in government, and advocates of law reform.

The inclusion of both intellectual and technological accessibility within a single concept that is related to policy action is extremely exciting. I look forward to learning more.

John's and Richard's comments about #goodlaw today are at  https://twitter.com/johnlsheridan/status/278635094363746304  https://twitter.com/johnlsheridan/status/278636000115310592   https://twitter.com/RHCabinetOffice/status/278639630180560898
http://twitter.com/RHCabinetOffice/status/279300201322258432

[NOTE: Updated 13 December 2012 to add Richard's point about complexity of legislation.]

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Sean McGrath's profile photoRobert Richards's profile photo
6 comments
 
How about a Google hangout some time on this topic?
 
Yes, I'd like that. I'll be free after December 27
 
RT @RHCabinetOffice Thanks @richards1000. One more dimension to #goodlaw: When is complexity in legislation a bad thing? What are the causes of complexity?
 
RT @propylonsean @RHCabinetOffice @richards1000 Complexity in law is a bad thing when it is a consequence of the expression medium i.e. not ab initio.
 
RT @AlicePilia @richards1000 engagement & communication on legislation also key to #goodlaw to improve accessibility & mitigate perception of complexity
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