The Legal Department forms one of the departments in the Office of the Clerk. The department was formed with a view to making legal services previously provided by the Government to the backbenchers closer and easily accessible. The department is headed by the Parliamentary Legal Counsel who is assisted by the Deputy Parliamentary Legal Counsel, Assistant Parliamentary Legal Counsel and the Legal Assistant.

Operations of the Department

In summary, the Legal Department undertakes the following functions:     

(a)     Drafting Private Members’ Bills


As one of it’s main functions, the Legal Department drafts private members bills and advises Hon. Members on the same. The department is currently working on the following Private Members’ Bill:

(i)    the Budget (Estimates) Bill; and

(ii)    the Constituency Development Fund Bill.

(b)     Rendering Legal Opinion

The Legal Department renders legal opinion to the National Assembly management and Members of Parliament on various issues concerning parliamentary work.  In the same line, the legal office prepares discussion papers, memoranda and conducts research on legal matters and other issues. The department also carries out joint assignments with other departments under the Office of the Clerk.

(c)    Government Bills

One of the main functions of Parliament is to legislate. During the process of enacting legislation, the Legal Department assists Members of Parliament to scrutinize the Bills and draft proposed amendments to Bills before the House. The department also ensures that the Bills passed by the House are assented to by the Republican President and subsequently printed as Acts of Parliament by the Government Printer.  


(d)      Rulings and Announcements

The Legal Department drafts rulings on Points of Order raised by Members of Parliament in the House, and announcements for use by the Hon Mr Speaker. The department also prepares written memoranda for the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services for use during the consideration of matters before them.

(e)       Litigation

Officers in the Legal Department attend to court cases involving the National Assembly as a government institution, in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Chambers in the Ministry of Justice.    

(f)     Research

The department conducts research on procedural matters and participates in revising the National Assembly Standing Orders and Members’ Handbook, subject to approval by the Standing Orders Committee.

(g)      Law Revision

The Legal Department attends to legal research with a view to make proposals to the Law Development Commission for law revision.

(h)    Advice to Parliamentary Committees

The department provides legal advice to various parliamentary Committees on their parliamentary work. This also involves writing legal opinions and memoranda for use by the Committees and other departments.  

(i)      Examining Bills and Statutory Instruments

It is the duty of the Legal Department to scrutinise Bills and Statutory Instruments before the National Assembly to ensure that they are not repugnant to the Republican Constitution and other existing laws.

In addition to the above functions, the Legal Department also attends to other duties that may be assigned to it by the National Assembly Management. In conclusion the Legal Department plays a vital role in the operations of Parliament.