DIRECTORATE OF LEGAL SERVICES (DLS)
The Directorate of Legal Services is an office established under the Parliamentary Service Commission to support the National Assembly of Kenya. DLS is composed of legal counsels who specialize in legislative drafting and offer legal services to the National Assembly to enable it fulfil its constitutional mandate of legislation, representation and oversight.
DLS provides efficient and professional legal services in the public service. Its mission is to provide efficient and quality legal services to the National Assembly to enable Parliament to effectively and efficiently fulfil its constitutional mandate of legislation, representation and oversight.
History of DLS.
Prior to May, 2007, the National Assembly under the unicameral constitutional dispensation received legal services from the Office of the Attorney General. A Directorate as we have it now did not exist back then and legislative drafting services, legal advice and litigation and commercial matters were dealt with either by the Office of the Attorney General or through procurement of the services of external advocates. Accessing legal services from the office of the Attorney General was perceived as a subtle hindrance to the independence of the House. Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the three arms of governments are supposed to perform different roles and act as checks and balances to each other.
Thus, in May 2007, one legal counsel was employed with a job designation of “Principal Legal Counsel” to offer legal services to the National Assembly from within the House itself. The Directorate initially was established as a department under the Directorate of Legislative and Procedure Services.
On 1st July, 2010, the office became a fully-fledged directorate. With the promulgation of the new Constitution which provides for two Houses of Parliament, the office was restructured by the Parliamentary Service Commission in 2012 to cater for this in terms of provision of legal services.
Functions of the Directorate.
DLS is responsible on the following activities among others -
- Providing legislative drafting services to Members of the National Assembly and Committees of the National Assembly in line with the strategic objective of the Parliamentary Service Commission of strengthening the capacity of Parliament to make laws.
- Providing legal advice on legislative and other legal matters to the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Leader of the Majority Party in the National Assembly and the Clerk of the National Assembly in line with the Parliamentary Service Commission strategic objective of strengthening Parliamentary offices.
- Drafting legislative proposals for the Members and Committees of the National Assembly pursuant to Standing Order 114(1) of the National Assembly Standing Orders.
- Formulating drafting instructions for Members and Committees of the National Assembly seeking to introduce legislative proposals and Bills pursuant to Article 109(5) of the Constitution and Standing Order 114(1) of the National Assembly Standing Orders.
- Drafting Bills in complex or specialized fields for the Members of the National Assembly pursuant to Article 109(5) of the Constitution.
Structure of the Directorate.
To enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of legal services to the National Assembly and Parliament, the Directorate has three Departments. The Directorate is headed by the Director and assisted by the four Deputy Directors each heading a Department.
- Department of Legislative Drafting;
- Department of Committees and Advisory; and,
- Department of Delegated Legislation and House Compliance.
More information about the role and activities of DLS can be found here: Factsheet 30 on Directorate Legal Services