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Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Dangerous Drafters' Act Strikes Again

1. The Dangerous Dogs Act has been back in the news as a result of two recent horrendous attacks by dogs. And it is not generally out of the news for long. Not many acts have their own website: the Dangerous Dogs Act does - http://dangerousdogsact.com/Dangerous Dogs Act - Campaigning for a Better Law.

2. It's worth looking at the site - it contains a trenchant but well-argued discussion of the principal flaws in the Act and its recent amendments.

3. I was never sure why this Act from the beginning attracted such close public attention. A cynic might suggest that it is because the subject-matter of the Act is relatively easy to understand.

4. Not being a cynic, however, my own feeling is that from the beginning it was apparent to the public that the Act was a missed opportunity to tackle a relatively peripheral social problem, but one that causes unnecessary harm and that could have been tackled effectively.

5. Is this another example of an Act where the drafter was forced to produce poor-quality legislation because of poor-quality policy and a political imperative? Or could the drafter have insisted on a more effective solution? Is this a sign that insistence by the drafter was already becoming unfashionable then, and has become even less fashionable since? All views on the point, in relation to this or other Acts, gratefully received.