Comparative Study of Drafting Styles of the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU)

Mohammed, Idris (2022-04)


This study was one of the aspects of law that is had relatively few literature. This was a problem for the researcher and this made it difficult for many researchers and drafters to have uniform standards on legislative drafting over time particularly when drafting UN and EU treaties. The objective of this study therefore was to examine the similarities and differences between the drafting styles of the UN and EU, as foreign or diplomatic relations, commerce and international trade encourage cross-breeding of ideas, legislations and other instruments. The study also considered comparative study of law within the context of drafting styles of the UN and EU and the extent of its application with a view to draw lessons for Nigeria legislative drafting styles. This was achieved through in-depth study of a process called “Transplant” or “Adaptation” and principle of “Functionality”. This was why comparison of the drafting styles of UN and EU was used as justification for this study and to underscore the need for drafters to understand that the use of comparative study. Comparative law in this context was just a guide and did not translate to the fact that each State or inter-organisation should adopt “hook, line and sinker”, the legislative style of another State but only functional laws should be adopted. In the course this study, the researcher concentrated more on the unique features of drafting styles of the UN and EU to make comparisons, since the main objective of the study was to examine the similarities and differences between the two inter-governmental organisations’ drafting styles, simpliciter. Additionally, comparative study of or comparative law was used as means of justifying the study and this was achieved through research into various literature on comparative law vis-à-vis legislative drafting textbooks or journals. In essence, the research was doctrinal based. The major findings in this study was that a comparison of drafting styles of the UN and EU cannot be achieved without making references to extant literature on comparative law since the issue of comparison of the two institution relates to international law and jurisprudence on the law making capacity of the organisations. Even though legislative competence of the two organisations had xv been subject of debate, this study further found that by virtues of Vienna Conventions on Law of Treaties, 1969, the UN and EU treaties have the force law. A lesson drawn from this specific finding was that in Nigeria, courts have consistently held that treaties are laws and this implies that drafting of treaties could be seen as legislative drafting. The study also found that the EU has a more organized and uniform system of drafting its EU Legislative Act which other organisations and countries like Nigeria could draw a lesson therefrom. This study thereafter, recommended that drafters of UN and EU treaties should adopt “Principle of functionality” in their drafting styles and that the legislative drafting styles of the UN should be modelled as that of the EU to give it full legislative aura and characteristics. This is also a lesson for Nigeria to key into, as the non-availability of drafting manual hinders drafting. Though in Nigeria, statutes (Interpretation Act and Acts Authentication Act) and other rules guide drafters, it would be ideal if a manual is provided specifically for drafters as obtainable in the EU. In conclusion, the study was able to compare the legislative drafting styles of the UN and EU using comparative law principles and it was observed and opined that Nigeria could draw lessons from the two inter-governmental organisations.