Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. Enforcement of the law (and therefore social order) breaks down if this simple rule is not upheld. Is there not, then, a moral obligation on our legislators, enforcement-agencies, and judiciary to ensure that the law, its interpretation and its application, is reasonably comprehensible, memorable, consistent and capable of compliance by those to whom it applies? In other words, it is only reasonable to expect people to inform themselves of state-sanctioned standards of behaviour and to behave accordingly, if it is reasonably practical for them to do so.
Does anyone believe that the current state of complexity of our legislative and regulatory framework passes that test? Should we have a rule that no new legislation will be passed without revocation of at least twice as much existing legislation? And for regulation, perhaps three-times as much?
Given the complexity of European legislation, and the lack of flexibility in its application at a national level, this may raise tensions between Europe and Britain, unless Europe can be persuaded of the same principle, which ought to apply equally to any administrative jurisdiction. Looking at the Constitutional Treaty, the REACH Directive, and the Acquis Communitaire, Europe is more in need of, and yet less likely to apply, this principle than almost any other domain. If they won't recognise this, should we allow ourselves to be dragged down the same route?