Professionals’ Contribution to the Legislative Process: Between Self, Client and the Public
39(1) Law and Social Inquiry 96-126 (2014)
66 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2012 Last revised: 16 Jan 2017
Date Written: November 5, 2012
How may professionals be made to contribute to legislative processes so that their expertise redounds to the public interest, despite the legislative product being likely to have a negative impact on their clients’ wealth? Drawing on a case study of the legislative process which gave birth to Israel’s recent (2002-8) trusts taxation regime, based on five years of participant-observation among the trust professional community, I find that to obtain the benefit of private sector professionals' expertise under such circumstances, government should have legislation drafted in a dispassionate, exclusive environment of experts rather than in the political arena; it should build professionals’ trust in government by adopting an explicitly collegial approach; it should focus reform efforts on elements of the existing law so clearly inequitable as to make a refusal to contribute difficult to justify; and take care that the new regime creates a compliance practice lucrative enough to compensate for any loss to professionals consequent on its enactment. Once professionals’ interests are suitably safeguarded, their loyalty to clients appears surprisingly brittle, and government can successfully combine with them in the public interest.
Keywords: trusts, tax, trusts taxation, professionals, lawyers, accountants, bankers, STEP, trust professionals, legislation, legislative process
JEL Classification: E62, E60, E61, E63, E65, E66, G18, G28, H24, H26, H87, J44, K34, L84, M41, P43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation