Model Laws Library: why and how to use it

Jump to the Spreadsheet of model laws in the Model Laws Library.

More than a thousand states and sub-states (jointly called “jurisdictions”) today develop and adopt laws. Considering several hundred policy fields exist that could be supported by laws, there is immeasurable potential for law reform to improve policy outcomes. If we were to make a matrix listing horizontally all the thousand plus jurisdictions adopting laws and vertically, the several hundred policy fields and insert all existing laws into that matrix, by far most of the fields in this matrix would be empty. The fabric of laws is thus very incomplete, including for important policies like the prevention of pandemics. In addition, most of the laws that exist are themselves incomplete, missing important possibilities to pursue their policy goals. This double incompleteness (of the fabric of laws and of the individual laws) hampers policies and creates wide margins for arbitrary decisions, and in some cases corruption. The Regulatory Institute has taken a step to address this double incompleteness by establishing the Model Laws Library and by developing our own model laws.

Jump to the List of our Model Laws.

The Regulatory Institute is in an excellent position to address the double incompleteness. For our own model laws, we develop and use an ever increasing stock of articles that compare regulation on a certain topic or in a certain policy field and identify good elements. The model laws we create configure the good elements we have found in our comparative search in the respective policy field, as well as elements / regulatory techniques which have proven to be effective in entirely different policy fields, suggesting cross-fertilisation between policy fields. The Regulatory Institute’s model laws therefore contain more elements than conventional model laws because model laws usually combine elements used just in one single policy field. In addition, they contain special characteristics that facilitate making conscious choices, as we explain in the introduction of our own model laws.

For the Model Laws Library (“MLL”) the Regulatory Institute has searched, reviewed and compiled several hundred model laws, covering a variety of topics. Over time the Regulatory Institute will publish amended versions of the researched model laws. For most laws that we have researched still lack important elements. The Regulatory Institute finds that for every 100 laws it researches, only about one is fairly complete. For model laws the ratio is better, but still far from ideal.

Accordingly, the model laws published today in the MLL are mostly still incomplete. Only for some model laws we can ascertain a high degree of completeness. These are marked with “ …”. On the other end of the range, there are some model laws that we deem to be so incomplete that we rather recommend taking a model law of neighbouring policy field as a basis. These model laws are marked with “ … “. In-between is the large majority of the collected model laws, marked with “ … “. For these model laws, we see a noteworthy potential for improvement, namely by using the regulatory techniques presented in our Handbook, in our articles or in our own model laws. Hence, we invite readers to go beyond these model laws marked with “ … “ by amending them and adapting them to the needs of the respective jurisdiction. The Regulatory Institute offers pro bono services to help with adapting and amending model laws into domestic laws should this be required.

Where a model law is of medium completeness, it is still good to use to complement one’s own draft or as a first draft and basis for developing other ideas. Even a medium complete model law constitutes a certain benchmark. Where such model laws are used as a basis for developing a tailor-made domestic law, jurisdictions will on average produce more complete and thus better laws. Good model laws will also rationalise the production of new laws, make the elaboration of new laws easier and increase the law-making capacity of jurisdictions. The compendium of laws of each jurisdiction would become more complete and loopholes would dwindle. This makes our MLL so important.

In addition, we expect the MLL to have an important range of positive side-effects:

  • A more complete compendium of laws of each jurisdiction, with each law being more comprehensive will support certain global issues such as those against organised crime, pandemics and risks to mankind;

  • At least the model laws developed by us will contain clauses facilitating international cooperation which are absent today;

  • Indirectly, the use of model laws will promote international harmonisation of laws, harmonisation also reduces costs for economic operators, and such cost reductions often leads to reduced prices to the benefit of all; and

  • Whilst policies should not be reduced to laws, good (model) laws also enhance good policies and thus increase human wellbeing, protection of the environment and of animals.

As stated above, most model laws need to be amended and adapted to the respective jurisdiction. The Regulatory Institute offers, as a secondary service, the adaptation of the model law to the conditions of a jurisdiction wishing to legislate in a given policy field. For more information about our model laws work please see our article about the world’s first Model Law on Public Financial Management and our Services page; or contact us directly.

Jump to the Spreadsheet of model laws in the Model Laws Library. OR                Jump to the List of our Model Laws.