Speaker Brenda Wallace
Time 2019-08-03 14:50
Conference PyCon Au 2019
Talk details Link

Don’t use me for legal advice ever.

Tasked with turning rules into code.

With or without experts present.

Tasked with putting laws into code. Laws invented by humans. So much room for interpretation.

Task with rules that are just made up.

Laywers are expensive.

Code is rules. Not everyone knows that.

Legislation. Tried reading it? It is like reading someone else’s code.


Legislation turned into code.


Everyone intreprets rules differently.

How much leave you get depends on what software your employer uses.

Different software can implement laws differently.

People trade formulas in spreadsheets, but may not be correctly.

Too late to ask questions in legislation or point out problems.


  • Policy Officer
  • Policy Drafter
  • MPs


  • Parliamentry Coders
  • Legislation published code example in Python with legislation.
  • Legislation published with regression tests.

If formula is so complicated you can’t code it as entry level developer, perhaps rethink is required.

Legislation needs to be simple so that people can understand it.

Coders can respond with “computers can’t do that” - to point out problems with legislation while it is being drafted. Did you really mean to do that?

What is a 4.5 year old? Answer 6 months after birthday. What timezone? Leap years?

Mother is younger then her daughter. Mother and step mother can be same thing.

Law can be monkey patched.

Devops for law. Looking for bugs.