School of Law

School of Law

The Professional Diploma in Legislative Drafting

The Professional Diploma in Legislative Drafting (PDLD) is the premier qualification in legislative drafting in the South Pacific region.

The PDLD is a 30 week program designed for the novice as well as the seasoned drafter to acquire knowledge in the art and science of legislative drafting. Participants learn practical skills in translating government policies into clear and effective laws that can be understood and applied by a variety of stakeholders. The program introduces participants to the legislative drafting process in a progressive manner. Emphasis is put on syntax, and training involves the linking of sentences into meaningful units. The training involves drafting Bills and subsidiary legislation, including amendments, repeals and penal provisions.

Students acquire skills through ‘hands-on’ experience, culminating in an intensive drafting workshop at the end of the program. Graduates of the program have held a wide variety of legal and government positions, including as crown counsel, legal officers, magistrates, police officers, academics, solicitors, and members of parliament.

Program content

The PDLD comprises seven modules:

  1. LAD11 Back to basics - This module provides a formal introduction to the system of legislative drafting and what is legislation. It outlines the responsibilities of a legislative drafter, the importance of grammar, and why legislative drafts take the form they do.
  2. LAD12 Working within limits - This module examines the rules followed by courts when interpreting legislative provisions, and teaches students to consider those rules when drafting legislative provisions. It also
  3. looks at the role of drafters in relation to constitutional provisions, Bills of Rights and international treaties.
  4. LAD13 Making the right expression - The aim of this module is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills on how to write legislative sentences to create particular legal rules (legislative syntax) and the pitfalls that should be avoided.
  5. LAD14 Putting on the style, getting organised - This module is designed to provide an understanding that legislation is more than a set of random legislative sentences. The proposer’s requirements must be converted into a complete instrument that is effectively organised and structured in accordance with the legislative practice that is conventional in the student’s particular jurisdiction.
  6. LAD15 Topping and Tailing - In this module students will look in detail at the technical features of legislation such as writing definitions and those things that are typically covered in preliminary and final provisions.
  7. LAD16 Particular cases - This module covers particular types of legislative provisions that are typical in Commonwealth legislation. Detailed consideration is given to legislative amendments and repeals, penal provisions, delegated powers to legislate, and the drafting of subsidiary legislation.
  8. LAD17 Drafting workshop - This is a practical and interactive module that applies skills learned throughout the whole program. The workshop involves preparation and submission of an assignment that forms the basis of group discussions and presentations. Attendance at the workshop is compulsory.

Modes of instruction

The PDLD program is delivered throughout the South Pacific using flexible learning strategies. These include extensive CD-ROM materials developed by the Commonwealth of Learning, face-to-face tutorials, video conferencing, and a compulsory residential workshop.

Admission requirements

The PDLD program is open to any person with:

  • An LLB degree from USP
  • An equivalent degree from another tertiary institution
  • An equivalent professional qualification, or
  • (In exceptional cases) demonstrated experience or achievement.

Program fees 2011 “Our Future, Your Future”

  • Tuition Fees, Regional fee: 2,370 FJD
  • Tuition Fees, Third country fee 4,740 FJD
  • Tuition Fees, International fee 5,930 FJD
  • (Students must also cover any travel and accommodation costs of attending the intensive drafting workshop.)


For program inquiries please contact:

Mrs Prem Shekhar
Suva Division,
School of Law
University of the South Pacific
Laucala Campus,
FIJI Islands
T: +(679) 3232984
F: +(679) 3232998

For general course inquiries

Ms. Jill Awa
E: awa_j(at)
T: +678 22748, ext. 124
F: +678 27785

Application for Admission

Download an admission form here

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Page updated: Monday, March 11, 2013
School of Law
The University of the South Pacific
Emalus Campus,
Private Mail Bag 9072,
Tel: (+678) 22748
Fax: +678 27785