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International Conference in Birzeit - “Pillars of Legislative Reform: Transformations & Challenges”

Since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994 until today there has been put a lot of effort in reforming the legal system in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories. However, this process has not been finished yet and that is why it is important to discuss the nature of the legislative reform Palestinians desire

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Therefore, the international conference “Pillars of Legislative Reform: Transformations & Challenges”, organized by the Institute of Law in cooperation with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Ramallah, was held at Bir Zeit University from November 1st until November 2nd.

The conference was attended by over 100 participants and featured Palestinian as well as foreign experts, including ministers, other higher officials of ministries, and scholars, originating from different areas of expertise like law, human rights or information technology.

Day one naturally started with the opening speeches, followed by an introduction to the Palestinian legislative experience in the previous years and the presentation and examination of future plans for the realization of a legislative reform. One of the main findings was that legislative policies lack clear principles and therefore have to be reviewed.

Session two then aimed to identify the role that civil society institutions in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories play in realizing legislative reform. It was pointed out that the civil society should take up a stronger role in the legislative drafting process and be also responsible for monitoring it.

After that, foreign experts described the international experience in the field of legislative reform, and, in particular, the foundations and pillars of legislative reform and the role of academics in achieving it.

Day two of the conference was more focussed on specialized topics in legal drafting. It started with an examination of the important role information technology nowadays plays concerning legislative drafting in particular and concerning the legislative process and its management in general.

The last session finally aimed to depict the role and importance of legislation in achieving the rule of law and protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. It was highlighted that, although it is not always easy in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories, it is essential to implement human rights ideas into law where it is necessary.

Eventually, the conference ended with the presentation of recommendations concerning legislative reform in the Palestinian autonomous Territories. Most importantly, it was pointed out that there has to be a common strategy for the reform, alongside with more opportunities for the citizens to participate in the process.

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Jacques Fournier Ilona Stettner
Miriam Allam Ilona Stettner


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