14. Where the terms used in the act are not unambiguous, they should be defined together in a single article at the beginning of the act. The definitions shall not contain autonomous normative provisions.
All terms should be given their meaning in everyday or specialised language. For the sake of legal clarity it may, however, be necessary for the act itself to define words it uses. That is,
inter alia, true where a term has several meanings but must be understood in only one of them or if, for the purposes of the act, the meaning is to be limited or extended with respect to the normal meaning given to that term. The definition must not be contrary to the ordinary meaning of the term.
The defined term should be used with the specified meaning throughout the act.
The second sentence of the guideline describes a common drafting error.
An example of poor drafting:
The underlined part of the sentence is not a definition, but constitutes a separate rule.
The rule must be placed in the normative provisions. In our example, the author could insert it in the appropriate place in one of the other articles (‘… If the Member State receives a complaint which it does not consider to be manifestly unfounded, … , it …’), adding a second subparagraph with the sentence ‘The identity of the person …’.
The requirement that autonomous rules must not be included is not merely a matter of concern for logical rigour. If such elements are included in the definition, there is a danger that, since all the normative elements are not in the same place, the reader will overlook some when interpreting them.