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I greatly sympathize, also as non-lawyer. I don’t know how lawyers (are supposed to) do this. Having seen a fair cross-section of mental abilities in computers and lawyering and Parliament, I suspect that it is something that has been put up with since for ever.

In computer terms it is a joke. Like handing someone pages of undocumented spaghetti program source code, and the a bunch of textual edits, and instructions to the reader to make the substitution in their head.

Nobody in computers has had to do that since punch cards and batch processing (which mercifully I missed by about 10 years), and it nobody thinks that was in any way a good system (except for the precision it enforced – one thing that is amazing to me is – as far as I can observe - the low rate of semantic “bugs” in drafting)

I suspect there is a lot of guildsmanship with the profession of parliamentary draftsman and legal interpretation specialists – “if we made it easy, anyone could do it”, moreover it is an effective way of shutting down scrutiny of problematic bills. Very few parliamentarian actually enjoy or attempt to fix technical drafting – in practice “scrutiny” on both houses overwhelmingly amounts to asking “probing amendments”, making a short speech on general principles, and then sitting back amazedly when the minister responds everything is fine with the text and intention.

I wonder if in 10 years MPs will have a thin tablet of electronic paper, on which they can see animated the original Act, the proposed amendments highlighted, and the running order for amendments in debate. God forbid even and instant messenger system allowing on to say to other “I’ll take this point in that amendments if you do this one?”

Maybe in 20 years in UK, 5 years after other civilized parliaments….

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