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Services and training

The Office of Parliamentary Counsel (OPC) provides timely, high quality legislative drafting and publication services. These include drafting and advisory services for Commonwealth Bills, legislative, notifiable and other instruments as well as comprehensive public access to Commonwealth legislation, particularly through the Federal Register of Legislation.

Services provided by OPC

Under the Legal Services Directions 2017, certain drafting work is tied to OPC. Agencies must use OPC's drafting services to prepare government Bills, regulations, Ordinances and regulations of non-self-governing Territories and any other legislative instruments made or approved by the Governor-General.

OPC is also available to draft other instruments on a fee-for-service basis.

Please note that OPC is not an external legal services provider for the purposes of Appendix F of the Legal Services Directions 2017 and is not subject to the Legal Services Multi-use List (LSMUL) framework. Agencies can engage OPC to provide untied drafting services even though OPC is not listed as a legal service provider on the LSMUL.

OPC provides the following services to government agencies on a fee-for-service basis:

  • drafting advice (including commenting on, or clearance of, instruments);
  • instrument design (including template development);
  • drafting training;
  • instrument preparation (including formatting instruments for remaking and compiling amended legislative instruments);
  • instrument editorial services;
  • research services (including the development of reports from the Federal Register of Legislation).

Features of our specialist instrument drafting services

Legislation development and drafting expertise

OPC drafters are highly trained lawyers, many with a background in policy development. OPC drafters have expertise in providing solutions in the implementation of complex and sensitive Commonwealth policy in legislation.

Background knowledge of instrument making powers

OPC is specially positioned to provide timely, high quality instruments for Bills, new Acts, and new schemes under existing Acts or regulations with drafters of the instrument-making power generally available to provide drafting services for the instrument under the Act or regulation.

Plain English and best drafting practice

OPC strives to ensure that your instrument:

  • meets your policy objectives in a legally effective way; and
  • meets best practice standards for Commonwealth legislation; and
  • is accurate and as easy to understand as possible.

We use plain English drafting techniques to present ideas simply and effectively.

Quality assurance

An instrument is only ready to be made after rigorous quality-assurance checks by drafters and editors. These checks ensure that all instruments drafted by OPC are of the highest possible standard.

To inquire about any OPC instrument drafting or editing services, please contact the OPC instrument client adviser for your agency. For other services, please contact OPC Publications on (02) 6120 1350 or by emailing

Federal Register of Legislation services

OPC recovers the costs of the Federal Register of Legislation system from departments and agencies on a cost recovery basis. An annual fee system is in place to recover the costs of the Register and covers all standard registration, gazettal and tabling services.

Client agencies will not receive any other invoices for these services, unless they require express or peak period registration. These fees are available on the lodgement site or by contacting OPC Publications on (02) 6120 1350 or by emailing

How to arrange express or peak period registration

If you are likely to require express or peak period registration for an instrument or gazette, early contact with OPC is helpful to enable us to meet your requirements. Please call (02) 6120 1350 or email

When you lodge content online, you should also select the appropriate priority and provide more information in the special requirements field.

Lodgements with a priority of "routine" will be published and delivered to Parliament for tabling within 3 working days of the day of lodgement unless you make other arrangements. If you require content to be published or tabled at the end of the calendar or financial year, you need to lodge it early to avoid additional fees.

OPC Training

Advanced Legislation Process Course

For many years, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel (OPC) has conducted a Legislation Process Course to explain the process of developing legislation. OPC is now pleased to be able to offer an Advanced Legislation Process Course for staff of Australian Government agencies who are, or will be, instructing OPC on legislation.
The advanced course provides a more practical and in-depth look at some of the more complex issues associated with the legislative change process. It is presented by a team of experienced drafters of OPC.

The one day course is conducted at OPC's offices. The course costs $900 per individual (GST not applicable).

Previous attendance at an OPC Legislation Process Course is a pre-requisite.

Course content

The course currently covers the following topics:

  • Understanding your legislation
  • Understanding Acts of general application, including the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 and the Crimes Act 1914
  • Selected constitutional issues
  • Understanding and instructing on commencement, application, transitional and savings provisions
  • Understanding and instructing on consequential and contingent amendments
  • Parliamentary amendments of Bills
  • Policy authority
  • Getting a Bill ready for introduction
  • Before and after making legislative instruments

Expected outcomes:

At the end of the course, participants will have a deeper understanding of some of the more complex issues associated with the development of legislation. In particular, participants will:

  • be confident in working with and understanding legislation
  • have an awareness of key constitutional issues affecting legislative design
  • be skilled in instructing OPC on  matters relating to the commencement  of legislation and application, transitional and savings provisions
  • be familiar with the critical steps in the legislation change process
  • have a working understanding of the parliamentary process as it relates to legislation

Drafting Simple Instruments Course

This is a one day course conducted at OPC's offices. The course costs $900 per individual (GST not applicable). This course covers the essential requirements for drafting simple non-legislative instruments such as appointments, authorisations and delegations, as well as simple legislative and notifiable instruments. It is hands-on, with opportunities for participants to draft their own instruments.

Previous attendance at an OPC Legislation Process Course is a pre-requisite.

Course content

The course covers the following topics:

  • Legal Services Directions 2005
  • Different types of instruments
  • Main Acts of general application
  • Appointments, delegations and authorisations
  • Technical drafting issues, such as naming conventions and amending forms
  • Parliamentary committees with an interest in legislative instruments
  • Services and assistance that OPC can provide

Expected outcomes:

At the end of the course, participants will be skilled in drafting:

  • simple one page non-legislative instruments (for example, instruments of delegation and appointment)
  • basic principal legislative and notifiable instruments
  • basic amending legislative and notifiable instruments

Legislation Process Course

OPC conducts a Legislation Process Course for staff of Australian government agencies to explain the process of developing legislation. The course is presented by a team of experienced drafters of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.

The one day Legislation Process Course is conducted at OPC's offices. A comprehensive course manual is provided. The course costs $600 per individual (GST not applicable). Please note the cost is subject to periodic review.

The course is primarily designed for staff of Australian Government agencies who are, or will be, instructing OPC on legislation. Attendees can expect to gain a basic understanding, or to refresh their knowledge, of the processes involved in developing legislation. The course will particularly benefit officers who prepare or may prepare drafting instructions.

Course content

The course currently covers the following topics:

  • Basic features of legislation
  • Priorities and policy authority
  • Roles of instructors and drafters
  • Parliamentary scrutiny of legislation
  • Additional information relating to different kinds of legislation

Expected outcomes:

At the end of the course participants should have a better understanding of how to:

  • contribute to the planning and conduct of legislative projects within their own organisations
  • provide drafting instructions
  • devise policy options:
    - which are more readily translated into legislative form
    - which are less likely to attract the attention of Parliamentary Committees
  • make a contribution to the processes of revising and finalising draft legislation prepared by OPC.

Comments from previous courses

‘Very good course, I will be recommending it to others.’

‘Fantastic. Overall, one of the best courses I have been to. I learnt a lot about the legislation process. Presenters were very approachable.’

‘Great course. Insightful and invaluable!’

‘Very professional and well-pitched presentations.’

‘Great overview of the legislation process, you have definitely demystified the process for me!’

‘The presenters were excellent! Found this course very interesting and useful!’

‘Good blend of theory and hands on exercises.’

‘I have been impressed with OPC’s professionalism in the organisation and presentation of this course.’

‘Very informative course presented in an engaging manner, with just enough challenging interactions and exercises to keep us on our toes.’

Courses available and registration

Advanced Legislation Process Courses and Drafting Simple Instruments Courses can take 20 participants; Legislation Process courses can take 30 participants.

Each course runs from 8.45 am — 4.30 pm.

Course Name Date Availability Location
Legislation Process Course Tuesday 10 April 2018 Fully booked

All courses will be held at the
Office of Parliamentary Counsel:

4th Floor, PWC Building
28 Sydney Avenue, FORREST
ACT 2603

Tuesday 17 April 2018 Fully booked
Wednesday 18 April 2018 Fully booked
Advanced Legislation Process Course Wednesday 11 April 2018 Fully booked
Draftng Simple Instruments I Thursday 19 April 2018 Fully booked
Drafting Simple Instruments II Friday 20 April 2018 Fully booked

To apply to register for a course that has availability shown in the table above, please fill out the applicable registration form and email it to

As places on the courses are limited, priority will be given to people who are likely to be instructing OPC in the near future.

For further information on availability please contact the Course Coordinator on (02) 6120 1400 or email

The course fee is payable by direct debit, cheque or credit card upon receipt of tax invoice (OPC account details are listed on the tax invoice issued subject to course placement offer and confirmation).


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