This is a purely educational website. Nothing here is legal advice or creates or implies an attorney-client relationship. If you have a specific legal issue, PLEASE talk to a lawyer who practices where you live—laws vary from place to place, and how they're applied varies from courthouse to courthouse. Your local county bar association can probably refer someone.
By using this site, you agree that you are awesome. Use of this site also constitutes acceptance of its Terms of Service and Privacy Policies
, which are known to medical science as a cure for insomnia.
It's best to keep all discussions in the comments. But if you really need to reach Nathan privately, go ahead and email him at email@example.com. He won't mind.
THE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO LAW and the PEEKING JUSTICE logo are pretty damn cool trademarks and should probably be registered one of these days.
© Nathaniel Burney. All rights reserved, though they really open up once you get to know them.
Might it help if regulations had to have a lifespan written into them, so that some bureaucrat can’t write some stupid petty thing that continues to screw people 50 years later. I’d suggest 5 years or so. If it continues to be important, it must be brought before the legislature to be made more permanent.
If ALL laws were required to have a sunset clause (with a reasonable term), then the size of the legal code would be self limiting. You would add only truly important things if you were spending most of your time renewing existing desirable laws. (unless you let people get away with renewing “all existing laws” at once.)
“Self limiting”? No. Limited by the size of the government. All that would happen would be the beaurocracy growing enormously to handle the extra workload, and the renewal process being “streamlined” down to a rubber-stamp.
I’ll agree with the rubber-stamp comment, but I am not following you with what the size of the bureaucracy has to do with legislation. And even with a rubber stamp, it would be easier for things to disappear than it currently is.
Rather than an absolute time limit, which would need to be tediously written in to a lot of pre-existing permanent laws, how about a “use it or lose it” procedure, sorta like adverse possession? If nobody else has been successfully prosecuted for violation of the specific law in question during the past, say, three years, then the defense gets to make an argument that the problem which the law was created to solve has BEEN solved. If successful, the law gets removed from the books, and if the problem crops up again, the legislature has to start over (though of course historical records would be available).
Naturally this creates an incentive for prosecutors to drag up obscure old laws more frequently, but sooner or later they’d have to choose between letting things lapse, or attracting the wrong kind of attention during same year the legislature was being re-elected.
I like this idea. I think it has promise and deserves broader dissemination.
The threat of punishment is no deterrent. If it were, prisons would be empty. The threat of punishment only motivates people to take measures to avoid being caught.
Often the best way to “not get caught” is to avoid committing crimes in the first place. Give people a reasonable option to get what they want without breaking the law, most of ’em will take it.