About us

The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel is a group of government lawyers who specialise in drafting legislation. We work closely with departments to translate policy into clear, effective and readable law. Our role will often begin when legislation is first being considered and we will remain involved throughout the Parliamentary process and beyond.

Our work ranges over a wide variety of subjects – everything for which the government legislates, from the hugely politically-significant and topical, to the niche, specialised and technical. For example, in the current session of Parliament we have drafted bills on a wide variety of subjects, from Article 50 and Brexit, through civil liability, data protection, lasers and prisons, to the space industry, tax and upskirting. So we may need to deal with legislation affecting any aspect of modern life.

Responsibilities

We are responsible for:

  • drafting all government bills
  • advising departments on the rules and procedures of Parliament
  • reviewing orders and regulations which amend Acts of Parliament
  • assisting government on a range of legal and constitutional issues

Priorities

Our priorities are:

  • to help the government to prepare and take through Parliament its programme of legislation
  • to provide leadership and training for drafters throughout government
  • to work with colleagues within and outside government to promote good law
  • to build links with universities, the judiciary and others

Who we are

We are headed by Elizabeth Gardiner, who is First Parliamentary Counsel. We are a shared service.

We employ around 50 counsel and 10 support staff. We are based in London.

Our publications

Guidance from the Office of Parliamentary Counsel

The legislative process

Further information

Public Bills before Parliament

UK legislation

Guide to making legislation