Flashcards in VLRC Law Reform Process Deck (12):
A problem with the current law arises. This could be for a number of reasons such as the law has not kept up with changes in society or does not function well in practice. These problems can become noticeable because of formal and informal pressures such as a petition.
Step 2 terms of reference
The commission receives a reference from the attorney general. The commission then receives a letter from the attorney general specifying the parameters of the project and the reporting date. These are called the terms of reference.
Step 3 Research
The commissions staff undertake initial research and consultation. This can involve researching the law in other states and countries, looking at the work of other law reform commissions, studying cases and talking to people affected by the law. An information paper may be produced outlining the issues and asking for submissions.
Step 4 Experts
A committee of experts might be formed to offer advice to the commission and guide their recommendations. For example, for the commissions reference on the law of abortion, a panel of medical experts was established to provide specialist advice.
Step 5 Consultation Paper
A consultation paper is published that outline the issues involved, may identify some options for reform and invites submissions. Specific questions may be asked to guide submissions.
Step 6 Submissions
Submissions are considered by researchers. Further research is also undertaken.
Step 7 consultations
Researchers hold consultations with people affected by the law, workers in the area, experts in the field and relevant organisations. The commission may also hold forums and roundtables to speak about its work and gather views about possible changes to the law. The commission tries to ensure that marginalised groups who may be affected by the law are consulted.
Step 8 final report
A final report is published that outlines their research and makes recommendations for changes to the law and practice. Recommendations could involve introducing new legislation, changing existing legislation or making non legislative changes such as increasing education, promoting cultural change or establishing new bodies to bring about change.
Step 9 Tabling
The attorney general tables the report in parliament within 14 sitting days. The report cannot be released to the public until this has happened.
Step 10 Government
The government decides whether to implement the recommendations (in whole or part). This may include changes to legislation which will be put to parliament or changes to practices.
Parliament decides whether to pass new or amended legislation. Proposed changes to the law will be debated by parliament and may be accepted, amended or rejected.