CAN A PRESS RELEASE HAVE ANY LEGAL EFFECT?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

An Act of the National Assembly is part of the laws of The Gambia and is made by the National Assembly passing a Bill and the President assenting to that Bill. Once the President assents to the Bill it becomes law and is called an Act of the National Assembly. But the law cannot be applied unless it is published in the Gazette. This is clearly stipulated in section 100 subsection (7) of the Constitution which states:

“No Act of the National Assembly shall come into operation until it has been published in the Gazette……….”

An Act may empower an authority to make subsidiary legislation. The Interpretation Act defines subsidiary legislation as, “Proclamation, rule, regulation, Order, Notice, by-law or other instrument made under any other lawful authority and ha in legislative effect.”

Again, a subsidiary legislation shall have no legal effect unless it is published in the Gazette as stipulated in the Interpretation Act which states in section 11 paragraph (d):

“Where an Act confers power on an authority to make subsidiary legislation the following provisions shall have effect with reference to the making and operation of the subsidiary legislation, unless a contrary intention appears – (d) subsidiary legislation shall be published in the Gazette and shall have the force of law upon the publication thereof or from the date named therein…….”

In short, every Act or subsidiary legislation must be published in the Gazette before it can be put into operation. A mere press release would not suffice.

The law must be known before it is put into operation. That is why it is published. The source must also be authentic, hence the reason for publishing it in the Gazette.

Such arrangement is in line with good governance and transparency.

Public Servants should take note that their decisions and acts are in accordance with the law.