‘The act of evaluating laws that a parliament has passed is known as Post Legislative Scrutiny’ [1]. In 2017, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) completed a publication triplet on Post-Legislative Scrutiny (PLS). It now includes a Comparative Study of practices of PLS in selected parliaments, a Guide for Parliaments and a policy document with principles for PLS.

As a scholar and practitioner on parliamentary development, I was particularly honored to be invited to peer-review the document ‘Guide for Parliaments’ that crowned this effort (see [2]). Apart from the general framework for conducting PLS by parliaments, the Guide contains describes the methodological steps for parliamentary staff in organizing a PLS inquiry.

In the parliamentary domain, PLS falls under the function of parliamentary control. Nevertheless, to date, most parliaments lack sufficient capacity to systematically follow up on the implementation of passed legislation. Instead, the traditional system of –written or oral – questions is used by parliamentary groups and Members of Parliament to exercise parliamentary control. As parliaments continue to build up their capacities, PLS can be a domain where parliaments may increase their leverage against the executive.

The primary case study by WFD examined parliaments from 10 countries, i.e. UK, Belgium, Canada, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Montenegro, Pakistan, South Africa and Switzerland. Analysis revealed a set of omnipresent principles that were documented in the relevant policy document. Further research displayed various options for introducing PLS into parliaments.

Recent developments show that PLS is here to stay. If parliaments get it right, its potential is strong enough to constitute a stand-alone parliamentary function.

Basic references

[1] Franklin De Vrieze and Victoria Hasson, ‘Comparative study of practices of Post-Legislative Scrutiny in selected parliaments and the rationale for its place in democracy assistance’, WFD (2017), online:

[2] Franklin De Vrieze, ‘Post-Legislative Scrutiny – Guide for Parliaments’, WFD (2017), online:

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