Welcome to the ACT Parliamentary Counsel's Office
The ACT Parliamentary Counsel's Office (PCO) provides comprehensive legislative drafting and publishing services for the Territory and is in the Justice and Community Safety (JACS) Directorate.
If you are looking for ACT laws, please go to the ACT legislation register (maintained by PCO) at www.legislation.act.gov.au.
This site contains:
- information about PCO—functions, reports and other corporate documents
- PCO drafting and publishing standards documents, eg drafting, spelling and language guides
- information about employment opportunities in the office
- links to related sites including the ACT Legislative Assembly
We are here to
- draft legislation (mainly Acts, regulations and rules of court) for the ACT Government, individual members of the Legislative Assembly and ACT courts
- analyse legislative proposals and provide advice to clients on their policy, legal and constitutional implications and on alternative ways of achieving policy objectives
- draft amendments of legislation being considered by the Assembly
- arrange for printing of ACT bills and subordinate legislation
- ensure that the Legislation Act 2001 remains a high-quality, easily understood source of the law dealing with the 'life cycle' of legislation
- prepare republications and annual volumes of ACT legislation, tables and other information about ACT legislation, and arrange to make them available in printed and electronic form
- manage the technical amendments program for ACT legislation to ensure, as far as practicable, ACT legislation forms a cohesive statute book of the highest standard
- edit republished legislation using the Legislation Act 2001 to ensure, as far as practicable, ACT legislation reflects current legislative drafting practice
- notify new legislation and legislative instruments on the ACT legislation register
- maintain the ACT legislation register to facilitate public access to up-to-date, authorised ACT legislation.
- produce draft legislation for the Government in accordance with its legislation program and for individual members of the Legislative Assembly and other clients as promptly as competing commitments allow
- ensure, as far as practicable, that ACT legislation is as clear and simple as possible, can be readily found, read and understood, give effect to their intended policy, and use best drafting practice, including the use of plain English and gender-neutral language
- carefully examine all legislative proposals to ensure, as far as practicable, that ACT legislation forms a harmonious whole
- produce legislation in a form that will assist ready compliance
- ensure that new ACT legislation is notified, as quickly as is practicable, on the ACT legislation register website
- ensure that ACT legislation and information about ACT legislation is readily available in an up-to-date form on the ACT legislation register
- edit reprinted legislation under the Legislation Act 2001 to ensure that, as far as practicable, all ACT legislation is consistent with current legislative drafting practice
- provide training and information for instructors, users of the ACT legislation register and officers involved in the process for notifying legislation.
- take responsibility for the policy given effect by a law
- provide legal advice or drafting services to members of the public
- assist with inquiries about Commonwealth law
- take responsibility for the legal effectiveness of an instrument lodged with PCO for notification on the ACT legislation register (unless the instrument was drafted in this office).
Our client service
What you can do to help us
- ensure that legislative proposals are approved in principle by Government as early as possible
- contact the office about legislative proposals as soon as you can
- take into account the time frames for drafting in Estimating drafting time for bills [PDF 158.8 KB] [Word version 26.7 KB] when planning a legislative proposal
- ensure that drafting instructions comply with the Developing Legislation and Working with PCO guide [PDF 687.2 KB] [Word version 256.4 KB] and, in particular, ensure that all drafting instructions are approved by the senior officer responsible for the proposed legislation
- appreciate that the drafting priority given to a particular project must be assessed in the light of the priorities of the Government's overall legislative program, particularly as the office's resources are limited
- contact the office about urgent notifications of instruments as soon as you can
- ensure that instruments sent to the office for notification comply with the Legislation Regulation 2003.