The Promise of Law Reform the most comprehensive examination of the institutions and processes of law reform published in the common law world and provides a rich source of information, inspiration and ideas. It is an edited collection of 30 essays published to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Australian Law Reform Commission.
The authors - law reform commissioners, judges, academics, politicians, government officials, and journalists - reflect the plurality of law reform styles and structures, within Australia and overseas.
They cover the broad themes of the history, purpose and function of law reform; institutional design of law reform agencies; methodology and operations; how successful law reform should be assessed and judged; cooperation and mutual assistance; other law reform initiatives; and law reform in action.
This wide-ranging series of essays [is] a unique collection of works focusing upon high-minded and practical elements of law reform alike. The somewhat selfish conception of law reform from the perspective of a lobby group is in line with one meaning of reform – a change for the better. And so the central question posed in the mind of this reader is change for what end and for whose benefit as a result of law reform? Answers to that question are found in a number of these generally very well written essays ... Ultimately how you assess law reform will be based upon the outcome, the change for the better, that you seek. For an exegesis on ways and means to get there (whatever your own answer to the central question) read this book. - Ethos (Law Society ACT), June 2006
Thirty chapters, each by a different author, describe almost every aspect of institutional law reform, and the chapters are grouped accordingly: history, function, design, methods and outcomes. These are supplemented by a group of chapters on other methods of law reform, and a group of chapters on current issues for law reform institutions around the world. Overall, the chapters describe rather than analyse. They tell a reader how law reform is done, and they speculate on how it might be done better. For that alone the book is valuable, and unique in its coverage of all the issues in one text. But the book’s celebratory genesis has resulted in limited and ad hoc critical self-reflection, on either the ALRC or the idea of institutional law reform. ... Nor are more fundamental questions about the very idea of law reform directly addressed by the book. ... Although light on analysis, the book is a treasure trove of information about how law reform has been done, is done and could be done by specialist institutions. From research and strategic planning to community participation and media relations, from interagency cooperation and measures of success to legal education and issues in comparable jurisdictions, the book is an essential reference on the operation of institutional law reform. - Alternative Law Journal Vol 32(2) June 2007
Table of Contents
A. History, Purpose and Function
A History of Law Reform in Australia
The Future for Institutional Law Reform
A Vision of Tidiness: Codes, Consolidations and Statute Law Revision
B. Institutional Design
Independence and Accountability of Law Reform Agencies
Continuity, Discontinuity, Stasis and Innovation
Initiation and Selection of Projects
J Bruce Robertson
C. Methods and Operations
Strategic and Project Planning
Law Reform and Community Participation
Relations with the Media
D. Outputs and Outcomes
Products of Law Reform Agencies
E. Co-operation and Mutual Assistance
Leadership and Ideas: Law Reform in a Federation
Nathalie Des Rosiers
Co-operation across Frontiers
F. Other Law Reform Initiatives
Professional and Private Bodies
Law Reform Agencies and Royal Commissions: Toiling in the Same Field?
Law Reform through the Executive
Law Reform and the Legislature
Law Reform and the Courts
Sir Anthony Mason
G. Law Reform in Action
The Growth of Civil Justice Reform
Challenges to Criminal Justice Reform
Law Reform and Social Justice
Science, Medicine and Health and the Work of the Australian Law Reform Commission
Law Reform and Legal Education: Uniting Separate Worlds
The Challenge of Law Reform in Pacific Island States
The Challenge of Law Reform in Southern Africa
Are We There Yet?