Legislative policy of the state and the role of parliamentary committees in its formation

Legislative policy of the state and the role of parliamentary committees in its formation

27.04.2023

TERNAVSKA VIKTORIIAa,b[1], KOLODIY ANATOLIYc, PROKHORENKOMYKHAILOd, PETRENKODIANAb

Legislative policy of the state and the role of parliamentary committees in its formation**

 

Summary: 1. Introduction, 2. Constitutional and legal status of parliamentary committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and their role in the production of legislative policy of the state 3. Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Legal Policy 4. Conclusions.

 

DOI: 10.26350/18277942_000121

 

1. Introduction

 

Political actors use positive law as a means to achieve their political goals. The state as the leading institution of the political system of society plays a fundamental role in the law-making process, implementing its policy through the law, including legal policy. Improving and further developing the legal system of Ukraine, which is developing today under the influence of globalisation processes, requires a legitimate, scientifically sound concept of normalization legal policy of the state, which would help to correctly define the goals and means of transforming the legal life of society. Legal policy as an integral part of national policy can be formed and implemented on behalf of the state by all subjects of law of legislative initiative, as well as local governments that seek to achieve their own goals and objectives through the consistent use of legal means. Civil society institutions, such as political parties, public organizations, movements, associations, research institutions, and citizens, are also involved in shaping this policy, not directly, but through official channels and institutions, and through the press – using the institute of lobbying[2],[3].

The leading role in shaping legal policy belongs to the parliament. Hungarian jurist Chaba Varga noted that legal policy in a narrow sense refers to the sphere of policy, which is partly organized in the legislature, and partly in the executive and judiciary, which together or in parallel, all work in their own way to ensure that legal positivities can be implemented and updated through a number of separate official decisions[4]. The Ukrainian Parliament – the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, as the only body of legislative power in Ukraine in accordance with Article 75 of the Constitution of Ukraine produces legislative acts in the process of legislative activity (Constitution of Ukraine, 1996), where the guideline of social significance and expediency of the adoption of certain acts is legislative policy as a type of legal policy.

Legislative policy is an ideological-theoretical and scientifically substantiated strategy of legislative regulation of legal life, conditioned by the urgent needs of society and is the basis of legislative activity aimed at the preparation and adoption of legislative acts[5],[6]. According to experts, legislative policy is leading in the system of legal policy, as it is in the field of lawmaking that the basic guidelines of state and legal development are formed and their normative institutionalization takes place as initial provisions of the Constitution and other legislative acts[7],[8],[9],[10],[11]. In addition, legislative policy directs in the right and general direction of other areas of legal policy. Legislative policy should be a scientifically sound concept of legislative development. The content of legislative policy is manifested mainly in the planning of legislative work, because it is within its framework that the strategy of development of society and the state is formed. However, the question arises whether the parliament itself formulates the legislative policy or the main one and the creators of legislative policy are parliamentary committees.

The phenomenon of parliamentary committees remains relevant as scholars continue to explore when, how and why committees are important for legislative policy, given that prudent policy-making is not only about making laws but also about assessing their implementation, identifying gaps and deficiencies and their corresponding correction[12],[13]. However, comparative legal studies do not sufficiently cover the constitutional and legal status of parliamentary committees and their role in the legislative process in the post-Soviet countries. Research includes the works of Vello Pettai and Julle Madise on the parliaments of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which cover the period from 1992 to 2004 and highlight the dual issues related to the restoration of independent state-building and the tendency of parliamentarism to form the general model of the dominant position of the executive in the legislative process[14],[15]. The work of parliamentary committees in Ukraine has been described in the works of Iryna S. Khmelko[16] and Sarah Whitmore[17], but these works shed light on the status of committees of the Ukrainian parliament mostly through the prism of partisan theory.

Sarah Whitmore argues that studying the role of committees in lawmaking provides a true indicator of the committee's legal capacity (and in a broader legislative sense)[18]. In Ukraine, scholars, with few exceptions[19],[20], do not view parliamentary committees as subjects of legal policy. This is mainly due to the fact that according to the Constitution of Ukraine[21], committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are not subjects of legislative initiative as parliamentary committees, for example, in Sweden, Iceland, Austria, Latvia, Estonia and some other countries[22]. Thus, in Austria, in accordance with Part 1 of Article 55 of the Austrian Constitution[23], the leading role in drafting work belongs to the Main Committee, as it makes decisions on important issues of the European Union. Standing commissions in Spain, Italy, and Brazil have special powers, namely, in cases where the parliament is dissolved or the term of office of the chambers has expired and some important normative act needs to be adopted, the standing commissions have the right to pass laws instead of chambers. Thus, Article 75 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 gave standing legislative committees the right to adopt bills and legislative proposals on all matters except those set out in part 3 of this article[24] (Spain’s Constitution…, 2011).

This practice, according to some experts, “gives the committee the potential to be an independent entity”[25]. In this context, paraphrasing the “Mezey’s question” (Michael Mezey in his work “Comparative Legislatures” asks the question: “What are the main questions to ask when trying to compare the legislature?”. The answer was obvious for him: “How much policy-making power does a legislature have?”) when comparing parliamentary committees in order to note the importance of their role in the legislative process, the question should be asked: how much and what powers do parliamentary committees have regarding development of different areas of public policy, but primarily legal policy? David Arter gave a unanimous answer to this question, noting that strong committees are not in themselves a strong policy-making legislator that forms politics[26].

The article discusses several concepts and principles related to legal policy, including:

1. The role of parliamentary committees in shaping legislative policy. The article emphasizes the importance of parliamentary committees in shaping legislative policy and notes that certain committees, such as the Committee on Legal Policy in Ukraine, play a leading role in this regard.

2. Standards of rule-making. The Committee on Legal Policy in Ukraine is responsible for determining standards of rule-making and assessing the compliance of bills and other acts with the Constitution of Ukraine.

3. Necessity of ordering (normalization) of public relations. The article suggests that the legal motive of necessity of ordering (normalization) of a certain type of public relations is formed based on the analysis of the actual state of political, economic, and social reality, which leads to the creation of a concept of legal policy.

4. Legislative autonomy of parliamentary committees. The article discusses the degree of autonomy that parliamentary committees should have in the legislative process and notes that committees should be given considerable autonomy to ensure efficient and costly transfer of information from the committee system to the chamber, but not so much autonomy that committees go beyond the hall with decisions that may not match the preferences of the majority of chamber members.

5. Legislative capacity. The article notes that while committees can empower the legislative body with power to make decisions independently of the executive, they do not guarantee that this potential will be reflected in legislative activity.

Overall, the article highlights the importance of parliamentary committees in shaping legal policy and emphasizes the need for standards of rule-making, a clear understanding of the legal motive of necessity, and appropriate levels of autonomy for committees in the legislative process.

The aim of this study is to shed light on the legislative policy of the state and the role of parliamentary committees in its formation, particularly in the context of Ukraine. By exploring these aspects, the research contributes to the theoretical and methodological development of the field by providing a comprehensive analysis of the legislative process and the functioning of parliamentary committees.

Moreover, this study addresses the existing gaps and limitations in the literature by examining the specific dynamics and challenges faced by parliamentary committees in shaping legislative policy in Ukraine. While previous research has focused on the role of committees in democratic systems, there is a dearth of studies that specifically explore the functioning and effectiveness of parliamentary committees within the Ukrainian context. Therefore, this research aims to fill this gap by providing valuable insights into the role and impact of parliamentary committees on legislative policy-making in Ukraine.

By addressing these aspects, this study not only contributes to the existing body of knowledge but also provides a foundation for future research in the field of legislative studies and parliamentary governance.

 

2. Role of Parliamentary Committees in Legislative Policy of Ukraine

 

Parliament, as the only supreme body of legislative power, forms the legislative policy of the state, embodying it in laws. The successful performance of the tasks assigned by the state to the parliament is determined, in the authors’ opinion, by the efficiency of the internal structural bodies of the parliament, which, in turn, is determined by their interaction and mutual influence on each other within its competence. The world practice of parliamentarism has gradually developed a unified mechanism of internal work of the parliament, which provides the establishment of working bodies of the parliament for qualified preparation of working issues of the parliament, which then be considered and resolved by the parliament in full[27]. One such body of parliament is the committee as an element of the internal structure of parliament. It is believed that the system of committees “promotes better discussion, cooperation and debate, as it facilitates the collection of information and the application of individual knowledge of parliamentarians”[28]. Parliamentary committees have been aptly described by French lawyer Patrick Locke, who, comparing parliamentary work to an iceberg, argues that public parliamentary sessions are nothing more than a spectacle played to the public after the parliamentary majority and the government have agreed in permanent committees regarding legislative provisions to be adopted[29].

Committees are purposeful creations of parliaments that are officially appointed to consider and meet certain organisational needs[30]. In accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine establishes committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from among the people's deputies of Ukraine to carry out draft legislation, prepare and preliminarily consider issues related to its powers, and perform control functions. In the theory of constitutionalism, a distinction is made between “strong” and “weak” systems of parliamentary committees. Thus, if, for example, “committees tend to be a microcosm of the whole and/or their decisions are usually subject to full-body approval, they may not have a significant impact on policy outcomes”[31], so such committees called “weak”. According to Olson and Crowther, an indicator of a weak committee system is the presence of more than 20 committees[32]. In Ukraine, the number of committees changes each time after the parliamentary elections and varies from 23 to 27 committees, but this is not an indicator of a “weak” system of committees of the Ukrainian parliament. Sarah Whitmore rightly pointed out in her research that the creation of a large number of committees in Ukraine that do not correspond to the executive branch is the result of inter-factional competition for committee leadership positions[33], which unfortunately remains relevant today. The system of “strong” committees is inherent in those parliaments in which committees operate on a permanent basis, have broad legislative powers and adequate financial and logistical support for their activities, and their composition and powers remain unchanged throughout the term of parliament.

Committees of foreign parliaments specialise thematically, they are assigned certain important tasks, including the development of public policy, discussion of issues and supervision. An active and specialised system of standing committees is widely seen as a prerequisite for significant legislative autonomy[34]. The transition to a system of standing specialised committees modelled on executive departments in Western Europe took place in the 1970s and 1980s, first in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Portugal, and Spain[35],[36]. Today, all European parliaments have introduced this system, but for the post-Soviet countries this issue has not yet been fully resolved. Based on an analysis of current legislation and legislative practices in Ukraine, it can be argued that the country's parliament is characterized by a robust committee system. This system is composed of committees that are both intersectoral and functional, meaning they have expertise in a wide range of policy areas and carry out important legislative and oversight functions[37]. One of the key features of this system is the strong independence of parliamentary committees. These committees are not only tasked with carrying out legislative and oversight functions on behalf of the parliament, but they also have the ability to act independently. This allows them to provide valuable insights and guidance on important policy issues, without being unduly influenced by political or other external factors. However, despite recommendations from the European Parliament's Mission on Needs Evaluation, the newly established parliamentary committees in 2019 do not align with the responsibilities of ministries in Ukraine. This lack of alignment is also evident in other countries in the region, such as the Russian Federation and Belarus. It is important to note that the role of parliamentary committees extends far beyond simply drafting and proposing legislation. These committees also play a critical role in the oversight of government actions and policies. By monitoring the implementation of laws and regulations, and conducting investigations into potential abuses of power, parliamentary committees can help ensure that the government is acting in the best interests of its citizens[38],[39]. While there are some areas where improvements can be made, the Ukrainian parliamentary committee system remains a robust and important component of the country's policymaking and oversight functions. By continuing to refine and strengthen this system, Ukraine can ensure that it remains on a path of sustainable development and progress.

Kaare Strom noted the fact that parliamentary committees are rarely established by the constitution[40]. In fact, the constitutions of many modern states, especially the constitutions of the third generation, constitute parliamentary committees (commissions). Thus, the constitutions of Bulgaria, Poland, Greece, Spain, the Russian Federation, Slovakia and other states contain rules that determine the right of parliament to form standing committees (commissions) to address certain issues. The most detailed issue of the establishment and operation of standing parliamentary committees is set out in the Constitution of Finland (more than 20 paragraphs)[41]. Instead, few constitutions define the status of parliamentary committees. The Constitution of Ukraine is one of the few that defines the constitutional status of parliamentary committees: the Verkhovna Rada Committee is a body of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine formed from among the people's deputies of Ukraine to carry out draft work, prepare and preliminarily consider issues related to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, perform control functions[42].

Parliamentary committees in Ukraine have a well-defined constitutional and legal status. According to the Constitution of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) has the power to establish committees and subcommittees to consider draft laws, budget, and other issues within their respective areas of expertise.

The Law of Ukraine on Regulations of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine further outlines the functions and powers of parliamentary committees. These committees have the authority to:

1. Conduct preliminary reviews of draft laws and submit conclusions and proposals to the Verkhovna Rada.

2. Initiate draft laws on their own initiative.

3. Conduct hearings and invite experts and representatives of relevant organizations to participate.

4. Monitor the implementation of laws and regulations in their respective areas of responsibility.

5. Provide opinions and recommendations on binding or denunciation of international treaties and agreements.

The law also stipulates that committees must comply with the principles of openness, transparency, and accountability in their activities. This means that committee meetings must be open to the public, and committee members must report on their work to the Verkhovna Rada and the public.

In addition to the Constitution and the Law on Regulations, the Verkhovna Rada also has a set of internal rules and procedures that govern the work of committees. These rules define the structure and composition of committees, as well as their powers and responsibilities.

Overall, the constitutional and legal status of parliamentary committees in Ukraine is well-established and clearly defined. This allows committees to play a vital role in shaping the country's policies and legislative landscape, while also ensuring accountability and transparency in their activities.

As Kaare Strom noted, “in many, though not all, parliamentary systems, legislative committees are important forms of policy-making”[43]. The committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine play a crucial role in shaping the country's policies and legislative landscape. These committees are responsible for conducting preliminary reviews of proposed national programs pertaining to economic, scientific, technical, social, national, and cultural development, as well as environmental protection.In addition, the committees provide their opinions and recommendations on the binding or denunciation of international treaties that Ukraine may enter into. This ensures that any agreements made align with the country's goals and interests.One of the primary functions of the committees is to initiate legislation based on their respective areas of expertise. This means that they can propose bills that are relevant to their field of work, which can then be further developed into laws.Furthermore, the committees also play a critical role in the long-term planning of legislative activities. By developing proposals for the planning of bill work, the committees can ensure that important issues are addressed and that the legislative agenda is aligned with the country's priorities.Overall, the committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are an essential component of the country's policymaking process. They provide valuable expertise and guidance on a wide range of issues, which helps to ensure that Ukraine remains on a path of sustainable development and progress.

According to the Constitution of Ukraine, the parliament delegates the legislative function to its committees. All committees of the Ukrainian parliament participate in the draft law as subjects of the legislative procedure[44], while, for example, in the United Kingdom, a separate temporary committee is created in the House of Representatives for each bill considered in parliament[45]. The Verkhovna Rada committees not only study the draft laws submitted to them and give appropriate conclusions on them but also develop draft laws on issues related to the subjects of the committees. However, since the committee is not a subject of the right of legislative initiative, this bill is submitted to the parliament as a rule by a member of this committee, which is a subject of the right of legislative initiative. Thus, although parliamentary committees are subsidiary bodies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, their influence should not be underestimated. When working with bills submitted to parliament, committees can change their content so much that when considering a bill in the second (third) reading, the bill is often completely different from the one previously adopted by parliament. In addition, it is the main committee that decides the fate of a bill, because at the suggestion of the main committee a bill can be either adopted or returned to the subject of the legislative initiative without its inclusion in the agenda and consideration in plenary on the grounds of law. If Sarah Whitmore noted the predominant role of parliamentary committees in initiating bills over government ones during the 4th session (September 2003 – February 2004), 39% were government bills and 55% of bills were initiated by MPs on behalf of committees[46], in the Verkhovna Rada of VIII and XI convocation most of the initiated and adopted government bills. Therefore, today there is a question about the legal capacity of not so many committees as the Verkhovna Rada.

The same practice is in some other countries. For example, in Sweden, the discussion of bills submitted to parliament in the standing commissions is a mandatory procedure and the commissions not only give their opinions on bills, they have the right to significantly change the content of bills, as well as develop bills and submit them to parliament[47]. In Austria, the authority of committees is so high that most bills submitted to committees do not even pass the first reading, and the National Council immediately adopts them directly for the second reading[48]. In Portugal, the parliamentary commission proposes the relevant bills, and the parliament determines during the first reading which of them are rejected and which are adopted as a basis, which is then passed by article-by-article voting[49]. In the US Congress, polarized along party lines, the most important legislative decisions are still made at the committee stage[50].

The parliament appoints the main committee in accordance with its specialization to consider a bill. Summarising all the comments and suggestions on this bill, the main committee determines whether the need for the bill, the feasibility of its goals, objectives and main provisions, as well as its place in the system of legislation are duly justified. In addition, the main committee determines which version of the legislative text should be proposed to parliament for adoption. At the same time, the conclusions of the main committee on a bill play an important but not decisive role for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in both the first and subsequent readings in parliament. The committee's conclusions are different in countries such as the United States and France: the committee's opinion on a bill becomes the basis for a decision by the whole parliament and rarely the parliament's decision contradicts the committee's opinion[51]. The adoption of a bill by parliament is a consequence of the committee's support for a bill in most cases through party discipline and informal communication between members of parliament and parties.

The final version of the bill must be agreed with the positions of the main committee on its content, the Committee on Rules of Procedure and Organisation of Work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Committee on Legal Policy, the Committee on Budget, the Committee on Prevention and Counteraction of Corruption and Committee on European Integration. According to some Ukrainian scholars, this practice is negative, as it introduces a significant imbalance in the activities of parliamentary committees due to, firstly, committee ranking, violating the principle of equality, and, secondly, it leads to overloading committees with unnecessary work. However, each committee already has its own number of bills[52].

This study recognizes the significant role of various factors in shaping legislative policy, including political ideology, the influence of interest groups, and public opinion. By taking into account these factors, the research aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex dynamics that influence the legislative decision-making process in Ukraine.

Political ideology plays a crucial role in shaping legislative policy as it reflects the core beliefs, values, and principles of the governing bodies. Understanding the ideological perspectives of different political parties and actors involved in the legislative process allows for a deeper analysis of the policy choices made and their alignment with specific ideological positions.

Furthermore, the influence of interest groups cannot be overlooked in the legislative arena. Various interest groups, representing diverse stakeholders, actively engage in lobbying and advocacy efforts to shape legislative policy according to their respective agendas. This study acknowledges the significance of interest group influence and examines how their involvement impacts the formation of legislative policy in Ukraine.

Additionally, public opinion holds considerable sway in shaping legislative decisions. The study recognizes the importance of public sentiment, public opinion polls, and public consultations as mechanisms for incorporating the voice of the people into the policy-making process. Analyzing the interplay between public opinion and legislative policy allows for a nuanced understanding of the democratic dynamics at play in Ukraine's legislative system.

By considering these factors, the study aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the multifaceted influences on legislative policy formation, ultimately contributing to a more nuanced understanding of the complex dynamics within the Ukrainian legislative context.

 

3. Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Legal Policy

 

The question of the importance of committees, as well as the special role of individual parliamentary committees, deserves attention. The rating of parliamentary committees varies depending on their “political attractiveness”, which, however, also changes at different stages of the historical development of the state. But “one of the natural feelings of importance is how important the committee is in policy-making”[53]. Thus, in Austria, the main role in the activities of the parliament is played by the Main Committee, which is directly stated in the Constitution of Austria[54]. In Spain and Portugal, main committees are also formed in the lower chambers, which act as an independent element of the mechanism for exercising state power during the period when the parliament is not functioning. In the United States, the most important is the House Committee on Rules, about which Woodrow Wilson once said: “It creates a recognised and sufficiently concentrated leadership in the House ... and therefore the Committee must be fully responsible for the success or failure of the House session”[55].

In Ukraine, in order to improve the quality and efficiency of the legislative process in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in the early 90's, a Commission on Legislation and Legality was established, which was later transformed into the Committee on Legal Policy. In the authors’ opinion, the Committee on Legal Policy plays a leading role in shaping legislative policy, as it plans the legislative activity of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, determines standards of rule-making, assesses the compliance of bills and other acts of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with the Constitution of Ukraine. The importance of the role of the Committee on Legal Policy is also noted by the former chairman of the Committee O.V. Zadorozhnyi, who chaired the Committee in 2000. He called the Committee the most important of the parliamentary committees, as the committee exercises preventive constitutional control over all bills pending in the Ukrainian parliament[56].

The Committee on Legal Policy, carrying out preliminary consideration and preparing conclusions and proposals on draft national programs of economic, scientific, technical, social, national and cultural development, environmental protection, as well as on consent to the binding character or denunciation of international treaties of Ukraine, lays the foundations and determines the priorities of legislative policy[57]. In particular, based on the analysis of the actual state of the phenomena of political, economic, social reality, the legal motive of necessity of ordering (normalization) of a certain type of public relations is formed, expediency and maintenance of the future law are determined. As a result of such knowledge, the participants of legislative activity create a kind of action program for the modernisation of the national legal system, i.e. the concept of legal policy is created[58].

The parliamentary practice in Hungary after the reforms of 2012-2014 is similar. The new Constitution of Hungary in 2012 established a system of permanent committees of the National Assembly, where, contrary to the proclaimed principle of parity, a special place was occupied by the Committee on Legislation. However, the Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly of Hungary in 2014 gave the Committee on Legislation broader powers than the Ukrainian legislation gave the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Legal Policy. First, the Committee on Legislation has played a central role in obtaining and providing recommendations on all bills and related amendments. Secondly, as the general discussion of a bill was postponed from a plenary session to an appointed committee, which independently or jointly with other committees participates in the reading of a bill, the responsible committee submits a consolidated draft to the Committee on Legislation. And only a bill worked out and edited in the Committee on Legislation is submitted to the plenary session of the parliament. All this, according to Hungarian researcher Csaba Nikolenyi, does not contribute to reaching the necessary consensus in the legislative process envisaged by the reform of 2012-2014. On the contrary, as Chaba Nicolenyi points out, this “super-committee, which clears all bills for final plenary voting and shifts the detailed discussion of the bill from the plenary session to the committee hall, reinforces existing institutional prejudices in favour of the ruling coalition” because the ruling coalition has majority in it and its head is a member of the senior coalition partner[59].

At the same time, as David Arter rightly points out, although such committees (legislative) can empower the legislative body with power to make decisions independently of the executive, i.e. to strengthen its legislative capacity, they do not guarantee that this potential will be reflected in legislative activity[60]. Regarding the legislative autonomy of parliamentary committees, the authors support the position of Nancy Martorano, who prefers information theory, believing that committees should be given considerable autonomy to ensure that the specialization of committees and the transfer of information from the committee system to the chamber are most efficient and costly, but not so much autonomy that committees go beyond the hall with decisions that, while representing the preferences of the majority of committee members, may not match the preferences of the majority of chamber members[61]. Thus, the conclusion made by Sarah Whitmore on the legislative personality of the committees of the Ukrainian Parliament remains relevant: the Verkhovna Rada committees are quite competent and play a major role in the Ukrainian legislative process, as the discussion of bills is essentially transferred from parliamentary plenary meetings to committees, which independently schedule their meeting and have the power to make recommendations on these bills, although quantitative and qualitative indicators of laws remain problematic, as do factors influenced by the interaction of committees with factions and parliamentary groups in the legislative process[62].

At the same time, if the Committee on Legal Policy had properly performed its duties, most bills would not have passed the first reading, because according to the analysis of the latest laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the ninth convocation, they clearly contradict the Constitution of Ukraine in part of national interests, security and human and civil rights. The Committee on Legal Policy should formulate not only legislative policy but legal policy in general, as it is relevant in this matter. However, the Concept of Legal Policy of Ukraine has not been adopted yet. And this is not a doctrinal document, the draft of which, by the way, was developed in the early 2000s by the Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine together with the Ministry of Justice. It is about the Concept of Legal Policy as a doctrinal legal act approved by law, which, thus, will ensure its implementation more than it can be when doctrinal acts are approved by government decrees or presidential decrees. For example, the Concept of Legal Policy, developed in 2002 in the Republic of Kazakhstan, which acquired its normative character after approval by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev of 24.08.2009, No. 858 and began to materialize[63] (Decree of the President…, 2009). The Committee does not fulfil its main function – it does not develop a general concept of legal policy of Ukraine, according to which specific bills should be developed in certain areas of the economy and other spheres of society and the state.

The findings of this study provide valuable insights into the legislative policy formation process in Ukraine. While the specific context and characteristics of the Ukrainian political system and legislative processes are taken into account, the study also offers theoretical and conceptual frameworks that can be relevant and applicable to other countries with different political systems and legislative contexts. By examining the role of parliamentary committees and the factors influencing legislative policy, this research contributes to the broader understanding of comparative legislative studies. However, it is important to acknowledge that each country has its unique political dynamics, institutional structures, and socio-cultural factors that may influence the legislative process differently. Further research is needed to explore the transferability of the study's findings to other contexts and to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the complexities of legislative policy formation across diverse political systems.

 

4. Conclusions

 

Thus, committees are the main organisational structure of parliament in the vast majority of modern democracies. The practice of the parliaments of many countries of the world shows that the effective implementation of the parliament's functions is possible only if the proper functioning of its committees is organised. Thanks to these subsidiary bodies, the activities of the parliament become orderly and planned. However, in the current political situation in the parliament of Ukraine, which is formed of the pro-presidential majority, the role of committees is insignificant in shaping legislative policy, as it is de facto formed at the Bankova street (Office of the President). The research findings presented in this study have significant implications for the field of legislative policy and parliamentary committees. By shedding light on the role and functioning of parliamentary committees in the legislative process, this study contributes to broader debates surrounding democratic governance, institutional effectiveness, and policy-making. The practical implications of these findings are twofold. Firstly, policymakers can benefit from understanding the importance of strengthening the role of parliamentary committees in shaping legislative policy, as they serve as key mechanisms for informed decision-making, stakeholder engagement, and ensuring legislative quality. Secondly, practitioners involved in parliamentary processes can use the insights from this study to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of committee work, leading to improved policy outcomes and democratic accountability. Recognizing and acting upon these implications can contribute to strengthening legislative systems and promoting good governance practices in both Ukraine and other countries with similar political contexts. American political scientists have been quite apt on this issue: as the majority party becomes more united within the main issues on the agenda, and the gap between the political preferences of majority and minority members widens, party leaders become more central in the legislative process, and the influence and autonomy of committees tend to diminish.

Most of the questions about the committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which were covered in previous works of scientists, have not lost their relevance today, as a careful study of parliamentary committees (constitutional and) provides useful material and recommendations for further research, covering important empirical and regulatory issues. A thorough study of the decision-making process in committees helps scholars to understand the process of forming political preferences of legislators, which is a critical conceptual and empirical gap in previous studies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Such studies make it possible to understand at least a slightly endogenous process of legislative policy-making in the bosom of the legislature in the presence of alternative competing legislative initiatives.

 

Abstract: In this paper the authors considered the concepts and principles of legal policy, the legislature of the world and in particular Ukraine, highlighted the concept of legislative policy and more. The work also studied the constitutional and legal status of parliamentary committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, their role in the production of legislative policy of the state; considered the work of the committee on legal policy of Verkhovna Rada. As a result, it was concluded that committees are the main organisational structure of parliament in the vast majority of modern democracies. The practice of the parliaments of many countries of the world shows that the effective implementation of the parliament's functions is possible only if the proper functioning of its committees is organised. However, in the current conditions of the Ukrainian political situation, the situation is somewhat different. In the parliament of Ukraine, which is formed of a pro-presidential majority, the role of committees in shaping legislative policy is insignificant, as it is de facto formed in the Office of the President.

Keywords: bill function; political actors; law; society institutions; government


Corresponding author email: viktoriiaternavska@ukr.net

aKyiv Regional Center of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine

bKyiv National University of Construction and Architecture, Ukraine

cKyiv National Economic University named after Vadym Hetman, Ukraine

dNational Defence University of Ukraine named after Ivan Cherniakhovskyi, Ukraine

** Il contributo è stato sottoposto a double blind peer review.

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[11] M.FLINDERS – L. COTTER – A. KELSO – A. MEAKIN, The politics of parliamentary restoration and renewal: Decisions, discretion, democracy, In: Parliamentary Affairs 71 (1) (2018), pp. 144-168. 

[12]B. GAINES – M. GOODWIN – S. HOLDEN BATES – G. SIN, The study of legislative committees, In: The Journal of Legislative Studies 25 (3) (2019), pp. 333-334.

[13] A. GETMAN – V. KARASIUK – Y. HETMAN, Ontologies as a set to describe legal information, in CEUR Workshop Proceedings 2604 (2020), pp. 347-357.

[14] V. PETTAI – Ü. MADISE, The Baltic parliaments: Legislative performance from independence to EU accession, In: The Journal of Legislative Studies 12 (3-4) (2006), pp. 291-310.

[15] M. PĒTERSONE – K. KETNERS – D. KRIEVIŅŠ, Integrate health care system performance assessment for value-based health care implementation in Latvia, In: Research for Rural Development 36 (2021), pp. 122-128.

[16] I. KHMELKO – C. WISE – T. BROWN, Committees and Legislative Strengthening: The Growing Influence of Committees in Ukraine’s Legislative Process, In: The Journal of Legislative Studies 16 (1) (2010), pp. 73-95.

[17]S. WHITMORE, Challenges and Constraints for Post-Soviet Committees: Exploring the Impact of Parties on Committees in Ukraine, 2006. https://radar.brookes.ac.uk/radar/file/30bb98f7-42c5-45a8-b229-7735b01be099/1/Post_Soviet_Committees-Whitmore-2006.pdf. (Accessed 16.11.2022).

[18] Ibidem.

[19] M. P. HETMANCHUK – V. K. GRISHCHUK – YA. B. TURCHIN, Political Science. Tutorial, Kyiv, 2010.

[20] O. SKAKUN, Theory of law and the state, cit.

[21]https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/254%D0%BA/96-%D0%B2%D1%80#Text. (Accessed 06.11.2022)

[22] D. ARTER, Introduction: Comparing the legislative performance of legislatures, In: The Journal of Legislative Studies 12 (3-4) (2006), pp. 245-257.

[23]http://constitutionnet.org/sites/default/files/Austria%20_FULL_%20Constitution.pdf (Accessed 06.11.2022)

[24]https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Spain_2011.pdf?lang=en. (Accessed 06.11.2022)

[25] As in footnote 16

[26] Ibidem.

[27] V. TATSIY – S. SEROHINA, Bicameralism: European Tendencies and Perspectives for Ukraine, In: Baltic Journal of European Studies 8 (1) (2018), pp. 101-122.

[28] As in footnote 8.

[29] P. LOQUET, Les commissions parlamentaires de la V-e Republique, Paris, 1982.

[30] T. MICKLER, Committee autonomy in parliamentary systems – coalition logic or congressional rationales? In: The Journal of Legislative Studies 23(3) (2017), pp. 367-391.

[31] As in footnote 8.

[32] D. M. OLSON – W. E. CROWTHER, Committees in Post-Communist Democratic Parliaments: Comparative Institutionalisation, Columbus, 2002.

[33] As in footnote 11.

[34] V. TATSIY, Re-codification of the civil law of Ukraine: On the way to European integration, In: Global Journal of Comparative Law 10 (1-2) (2021), pp. 1-4.

[35] M. SHAW, Parliamentary committees: A global perspective, In: The Journal of Legislative Studies 4 (1) (1998), pp. 225-251.

[36] A. CHOCHIA – D.R. TROITIÑO – T. KERIKMÄE – O. SHUMILO, Enlargement to the UK, the referendum of 1975 and position of Margaret Thatcher, In: Brexit: History, Reasoning and Perspectives (2018), pp. 115-139.

[37] O. SHEBANINA – I. KORMYSHKIN – V. UMANSKA – I. ALLAKHVERDIYEVA – G. RESHETILOV, Influence of Closed-Loop Technologies on Local Development of Communities and Formation of Their Social and Economic Security, In: Review of Economics and Finance 20 (1) (2022), pp. 417-423.

[38] A. KLOCHKO – D. KAZNACHEYEVA – O. MUZYCHUK – E. KISELOVA, Legal responsibility of police officers in conducting pre-trial investigations of crimes, In: Asia Life Sciences 2 (2019), pp. 165-175.

[39] A. V. KOSTRUBA – O. S. HYLIAKA, Theoretical substantiation of the model of borrowing rights-terminating facts, In: Rivista di Studi sulla Sostenibilita 2020 (2) (2020), pp. 189-203.

[40]K. STROM, Parliamentary committees in European democracies, In: The Journal of Legislative Studies 4(1) (1998), pp. 21-59.

[41] https://www.finlex.fi/en/laki/kaannokset/1999/en19990731.pdf. .(Accessed 06.11.2022)

[42] As in footnote 15

[43] As in footnote 30

[44] Constitutional-procedural bases of realization of the right of legislative initiative, cit.

[45]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/645652/Guide_to_Making_Legislation_Jul_2017.pdf.(Accessed 06.11.2022)

[46] As in footnote 11.

[47]https://www.loc.gov/law/help/national-parliaments/sweden.php.(Accessed 06.11.2022)

[48]https://www.parlament.gv.at/ENGL/PERK/PARL/.(Accessed 06.11.2022)

[49]http://www.en.parlamento.pt/.(Accessed 06.11.2022)

[50] C. LAWRENCE EVANS, Congressional Committees, The Oxford Handbook of the American Congress. Oxford, 2011.

[51]http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/connaissance/fiches_synthese/septembre2012/national-assembly.pdf.(Accessed 06.11.2022)

[52] O. YU. BRUSLYK – I. V. MUKOMELA, Committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: the time of reforms, Kharkiv, 2017.

[53] K. TRYKHLIB, Law-making activity in the case law of the constitutional court of Ukraine, In: International and Comparative Law Review 19 (2) (2019), pp. 27-75.

[54] As in footnote 17

[55] W. WILSON, Congressional Government. A Study in American Politics, Boston and New York, 1885.

[56] O. ZADOROZHNYI, The role of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legal Policy in the legislative process, In: Bulletin of the Supreme Court of Ukraine 4 (2000), pp. 2-3.

[57] A. VILKS – D. BERGMANIS, Global organized crime in Latvia and the Baltics, in Global Organized Crime and International Security (2018), pp. 63-70.

[58] M. K. HALIANTYCH – A. V. KOSTRUBA – N. I. MAYDANYK, Legal aspects of the implementation of a pledge of a bill of lading as a security: National legal realities, In: International Journal of Criminology and Sociology 10 (2021), pp. 363-367.

[59] C. NIKOLENYI, Strong Governments Make Strong Committees? Committee Composition and Decision-Making in the Hungarian Parliament, Tel Aviv, 2015.

[60] As in footnote 16.

[61] N. MARTORANO, Balancing Power: Committee System Autonomy and Legislative Organization, cit., pp. 205-234 ss.

[62] Y. BARABASH – H. BERCHENKO, Freedom of Speech under Militant Democracy: The History of Struggle against Separatism and Communism in Ukraine, In: Baltic Journal of European Studies 9 (3) (2019), pp. 3-24.

[63]https://pavlodar.com/zakon/?dok=04450&ogl=11001 (Accessed 06.11.2022)

VIKTORIIA TERNAVSKA



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