U4: AOS2 (Law Reform) Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in U4: AOS2 (Law Reform) Deck (14)
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4 reasons for Law Reform

1) Shifting Community Values
- Must change to reflect evolving attitudes/views
- eg. Same-sex relationships, rights of children/women, environment

2) Technological Developments
- Must change to address new areas created by technology
- eg. Privacy laws, defamation laws

3) International Relationships
- Must change to address Australia's evolving relationships with other nations
- eg. Treaties, agreements, migration laws

4) Needs of a Business
- Must change to address changes in an economic climate
- eg. Online shopping/transactions, taxation, privacy/copyright


What are 3 ways individuals can influence change in the law?

1) Petitions
2) Demonstrations
3) Through the courts


1) What are Petitions?

2) Strengths

3) Weaknesses

1) A formal request for parliament to take action on an issue.

- Can attract media/commercial attention
- Many signatures can be influential

- Counter-petitions can reduce impact
- Few signatures are not influential


1) What are demonstrations?

2) Strengths

3) Weaknesses

1) Individuals/groups, on a large/small scale, voice their disapproval of a specific area of law through rallies/marches/boycotts.

- Likely to have a big media impact
- Larger rallies show the popular need for change

- Can be time consuming = takes time coordinating
- Small demonstrations often have little impact


1) What is using the courts?

2) Strengths

3 Weaknesses

1) Individuals can pursue cases through the court system and seek to draw attention to their issue/pressure MP's to take action

- Often televised = big media impact
- Can generate MP sympathy/support

- Court cases are very time consuming and may be ineffective
- Case will cost a lot of money, may not even be able to sustain it


What are 3 ways the media can influence law reform?

1) Provides instantaneous means of sharing info (quick results)

2) Connects people domestically/internationally (larger audience)

3) Easily incite/encourage action from the public (gain MP awareness)


1) What is the Victorian Law Reform Commission?

2) What is its role?

1) An independent, government-funded organisation that develops, reviews and recommends reforms to Victoria's state laws.

- Consults community to find out if change is needed (interviews, surveys)
- Inquire, investigate areas of recommended reform
- Prepare report on recommended reform for Attorney-General


1) Strengths of the VLRC

2) Weaknesses of the VLRC

- Independent of parliament = unbiased
- Enabled to seek community input = represent people

- Limited resources (time + money)
- Restricted by Attorney-General's references


What is an example of the VLRC's law reform?

The legalisation of medicinal cannabis.
- Gained community feedback that there was a need for cannabis to treat ailments
- Prepared report for AG and resulted in its legalisation


1) What is a Royal Commission?
2) What are their roles?
3) What is an example?

1) A public inquiry appointed by the Crown to investigate an issue of public interest.

- Used by government to shift decision-making responsibility in controversial areas (deflect criticism from government)
- Operate on an ad hoc (as needed) basis

3) Royal Commission into Family Violence


1) What is a Parliamentary Committee?
2) What are their roles?
3) What is an example?

1) A group of MP's who investigate issues which may give rise to law reform and report these findings to parliament.

- Provide parliament with advice on issues
- Assess community views via inquiries
- Make recommendations based on gathered evidence

3) Standing committees (appointed for the life of a parliament, re-established after the next election)


How can Parliament respond to the need for law reform?
1) Positives
2) Negatives

- Elected by the people (represents community views)
- Adequate resources (has funding to investigate issues)

- Time consuming (legislative process is lengthy)
- Reluctance of MP's (reform is dependent on whether MP is willing to adopt issue)


How can the Courts respond to the need for law reform?
1) Positives
2) Negatives

- Obiter Dicta statements (can influence parliament to approach issues)
- Precedents (can legislate in issues arising from new areas in the law)

- Judges are not elected by people (may not represent community interests)
- Judicial conservatism (may not be willing to approach controversial/new issues)


Royal Commissions (RC) + Parliamentary Committees (PC)

1) Similarities
2) Differences

- Both conduct public inquiries into the community to determine areas for reform
- Report findings to crown/parliament to advise on areas for reform

- RC (appointed by Crown) PC (appointed by parliament)
- RC (independent of gov) PC (set up by gov)