Consultation refers to a stage of the law drafting process where the key stakeholders' views, knowledge and experiences of the matter under preparation are obtained. Stakeholders may participate in the actual law drafting or they may be requested to share their views in some other manner during the drafting process. For example, a draft bill may be circulated for comments, discussed at designated consultation events, or posted on discussion forums for comments. For example, authorities, experts, organisations, companies and citizens are stakeholders.
The purpose of consultation is to ensure that law drafting is open and of high quality. By consulting stakeholders and having them participate in the law drafting process, law drafters and decision-makers receive experiential and expert knowledge and opinions on what kind of impacts the matter under preparation may have on different target groups. Well-planned and well-conducted consultation improves the effectiveness of law drafting and decision-making processes. The implementation of newly enacted acts and decrees is also easier when stakeholders have received information on the statutes and their objectives already during the consultation stage.
The Guide to Consultation in Statute Drafting, issued by the Government, defines policies for the consultation of stakeholders and their participation in the law drafting process. The new guide, published in 2016, replaces the Government resolution on consultation in statute drafting from 2010. Other material on the consultation process and methods to be used in it have also be drawn up to support the revised guide.
The Guide to Consultation in Statute Drafting applies to the drafting of acts, decrees and regulations including legal provisions. In addition, the provisions on the openness of the law drafting procedure and consultation laid down in the Constitution, the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Language Act must be complied with in consultation.
Guide to Consultation in Statute Drafting (at Finlex, available only in Finnish and Swedish): Säädösvalmistelun kuulemisopas