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19/03/2018   The National Audit Office of Lithuania: Lithuanian Lawmaking is Ineffective

Legal regulation must be of high quality because it is intended for the management of social relations, the assurance of the appropriate implementation of state functions, and the provision of conditions necessary for the effective development of society and the state.  The clarity, rationality, and effectiveness of legal regulations depend on the process and quality of their development (also known as lawmaking). The audit, entitled the Lawmaking Process, carried out by the National Audit Office of Lithuania has shown that the results of the monitoring of legal regulation, which is currently fragmented and of low quality, fail to provide information on the necessity and effectiveness of current monitoring of legal regulation, which prevents timely and appropriate reaction to the changes taking place in various areas of social life.

The audit has also shown that effective assessments of the impact of legal regulation are still lacking. It is frequently observed that legal loopholes and negative impacts of legal regulation only become apparent after a law had already been passed. Despite being established, the current formal lawmaking system if ineffective.

Low-quality lawmaking leads to unnecessary administrative load both to business and the public in general, creates the conditions for ineffective use of budgetary funds, expands the scope of activity of public management institutions, and fails to prevent corruption.

The abundance of legislation and its consideration under accelerated or highly accelerated procedure fails to provide the conditions necessary for the comprehensive consideration of draft laws submitted to the Seimas. According to the calculations of the auditors, up to 50 percent of Lithuanian laws are passed in a similar manner. In Estonia, on the other hand, only about 10 percent of laws are passed under the accelerated procedure.

“Our audit has shown that passing laws under accelerated or highly accelerated procedure is popular in Lithuania, even though it should always be clearly motivated and only done under extraordinary circumstances. Such practices do not allow members of the Seimas enough time to discuss all relevant risks and assess the potential impact of regulations being considered,” said Auditor General Arūnas Dulkys.

According to the National Audit Office, almost 70 percent of draft laws proposed for consideration under accelerated or highly accelerated procedure have been submitted under the guise that Lithuania is behind schedule in transferring EU law into its national law. Just like all other member states of the EU, Lithuania is typically allowed a 2-year term for the development and adoption of laws by which the provisions of directives are transferred.  Furthermore, Lithuania was behind schedule in transferring 54 percent of EU directives which were scheduled for transfer in the first quarter of 2014-2017.

The audit also found lawmaking to be lacking in terms of publicity, transparency, and the involvement of the public. The latter is important because the assessment of public expectations is only possible if the public is involved in the relevant process. According to the National Audit Office, as many as 11 out of 14 ministries lack information on the means of consulting the public, and approaches to their implementation. Insufficient consultations while drafting laws are eventually transferred to the Seimas, which leads to delays in the legislative procedure and increases the work load of the committees of the Seimas.

Having conducted the audit on the lawmaking process, the National Audit Office recommends the Government to reorganise the impact-assessment and legal regulation monitoring systems, and specify the means and procedures for consulting the public. In order to provide the conditions necessary for the improvement of the lawmaking process, the Government was also instructed to ensure the documentation, collection, and systematisation of the relevant data.

 

Responsible for the information Communication Division
Last updated on 16 May 2018

National Audit Office of Lithuania

Pamėnkalnio St 27, LT-01113 Vilnius, Phone: +370 608 92 636, Email: nao@vkontrole.lt.