Home Law Constitutional Sunsets and Experimental Legislation: A Comparative Perspective
(a) Instruments to rationalize the legislative process
Although the legislative challenges described in Chapter 1 cannot be entirely solved by the enactment of experimental legislation or sunset clauses, these instruments have been used to rationalize the legislative process and, consequently, legislation as its end-product. This objective can be furthered by frequent legislative oversight, the gathering and consequent incorporation of new information, and the extinction of ineffective laws and regulations. Moreover, the rationalization of the legislative process is also enhanced by the fact that specified provisions or whole laws expire, whenever these are no longer necessary, or they are revised according to the observed social or economic changes.
In the United States, sunset clauses have been regarded since the 1970s as instruments of rational decision-making, suitable to confer consistency, effectiveness and comprehensiveness on the lawmaking process. In Germany, sunset clauses emerged in the debates concerning the rationalization of legislation, improvement of the quality of legislation and, more recently, together with experimental legislation, in the context of the discussion regarding the need to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public administration. The Netherlands followed the same tendency.
According to Horn, experimental legislation responds to the idea of developing laws sustained in multidisciplinary and empirically driven methodology (Rechtsetzungsmethodik).
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