Into the abyss and beyond – sub-sub-subparagraphs, and more
Legislation in Australia typically follows a consistent, familiar numbering scheme with sections, subsections, paragraphs and subparagraphs. For example, subparagraph 2(5)(a)(iii).
Sometimes, though, we need further nesting. The OPC Drafting Manual helpfully tells us about the sub-subparagraph, like a unicorn, rarely seen – ‘OPC's current drafting practice is not to include any new sub-subparagraphs in Bills or instruments’. See, for example, sub-subparagraph 18(1)(a)(ii)(A) of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.
The OPC, though, has a secret. It is mentioned nowhere in the OPC Drafting Manual, or by the Federal Register of Legislation, or in the main table in Drafting Direction 1.1A – Names of instruments and provision units of instruments, but paragraph 36 of the Drafting Direction, meekly hidden at the very end of the Direction, shamefully admits that a single piece of legislation, the Migration Regulations 1994, utilise sub-sub-subparagraphs (shudder!). See, for example, sub-sub-subparagraph 2.80(5)(b)(iii)(C)(I).
That is all, the OPC says. But that is not the end of the story, for the OPC has more skeletons in its closet. To find the elusive sub-sub-subparagraph, we ventured into the territory of delegated instruments made under an Act of Parliament. What will we find if we dare stare further into the abyss – to delegated instruments made under delegated instruments, only then in turn made under an Act of Parliament?
Meet the Part 145 Manual of Standards (MOS), an instrument made under regulations 145.005 and 145.015 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998, itself an instrument made under section 98 of the Civil Aviation Act 1988. With section numbers that look like ‘145.A.01’, this is not the pinnacle of high-quality legislative drafting the OPC wants you to see!
Deep within the bowels of the Part 145 Manual of Standards (MOS), we find, horrifically, the mythical sub-sub-sub-subparagraph 145.A.30(k)2(ii)(B)(1).
Admittedly, the Part 145 Manual of Standards (MOS) are numbered in an unconventional way, but it cannot be denied that it is Australian legislation, and it cannot be denied that that is a sub-sub-sub-subparagraph.
A sub-sub-sub-subparagraph a little closer to the OPC style can be found in the Hong Kong Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance, where we find sub-sub-sub-subparagraph 8(3)(c)(i)(B)(I)(aa), followed by sub-sub-sub-subparagraphs (bb) and (cc). We see that the Hong Kong legislation has numbered the sub-sub-sub-subparagraphs using duplicated letters. One wonders what a sub-sub-sub-sub-subparagraph would look like, since (ii) is clearly out of the picture. Perhaps (aaa)? (AA)?
Well we may not find out from Hong Kong, but as always, we can trust Florida Man to come to the rescue – specifically, Florida Legislative Drafter Man. Allow me to introduce you to Chapter 40D-80 (a great(!) start on the numbering front already) of the Florida Administrative Code, where we find sub-sub-sub-sub-subparagraph 40D-80.073(8)(b)2.c.(III)C.I.
Thank you, Florida Man. Whatever would we do without you?
Thanks to /u/tobycool2001_1 for some tag-team research tracking down these abominations.