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Student attends East African Legislative Drafting Conference

May 20, 2010

Published by BU Law

The student became the teacher when Lakeisha Applegate (’10) traveled to Kampala, Uganda for a legislative drafting conference organized by BU Law professors.

At the health care-focused event, Applegate helped expose attendees – including 16 East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) members and representatives from the five East African Community nations – to Professors Ann and Bob Seidman’s drafting methodology, which focuses on using evidence as a basis for more effective laws.

“I have an interest in African legislation because the continent has vast natural resources, but much of the population still lives in poverty without access to many of life’s necessities,” says Applegate, who edited research report drafts in the Africa i-Parliament Clinic last fall. “I believe that writing evidence-based legislation can help solve some of Africa’s problems, such as improving health-related institutions.”

BU Law Professors Ann Seidman and Sean Kealy travelled with Applegate and gave presentations on topics such as policy formulation, legislative drafting and bill assessment at the event. They planned the conference with Bob Seidman, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the African Parliamentary Knowledge Network (APKN).

The conference gave BU Law an opportunity to build relationships with East African legislatures, who, according to Kealy, could prove useful contacts to students involved in the School’s Africa i-Parliament Clinic next fall.

The Seidmans are well known at BU Law for their Legislative Drafting Clinic. Together they have worked to strengthen legislative drafting internationally for economic reform, in China and throughout Asia and Africa.

Before the conference Applegate helped the Seidmans write a resource book on health care law in East Africa, Using Law for Better Health: An EAC Project. At the conference she facilitated small group discussions on the book’s topics with EALA members.

“I was very nervous about my ability to lead these discussions, but my preparations paid off,” says Applegate. In the end she thinks that conference goers left with a “desire to incorporate this new technique into the legislative process.”

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