Law Reform - The Law Commission

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When was the law commission set up?
it was set up in 1965 under the Law Commissions Act 1965
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Who is responsible for referring areas of law for review?
The Lord Chancellor
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What is the law commission?
It is a statutory independent body set up to review areas of law and put forward proposals for reform
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Who is the law commission chaired by?
chaired by a senior member of the judiciary and has four Commissioners
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Who can the commissioners be drawn from?
barristers, judges, solicitors or teachers of law
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Who is the current chairman?
Sir Nicholas Green
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Who is the chief executive?
Phil Golding is the chief executive in May 2016 He joined the Lord Chancellors Department in 1994 and progressed through the ranks
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Who is one male law commissioner?
Professor Nick Hopkins Lecturer in land law at university of Reading Author of land law textbooks Chair of editorial board of modern studies in property law Appointed law commissioner for property, family and trust law in 2018
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Who is a female law commissioner?
Professor Sarah Green Appointed Commissioner for commercia land common law in Jan 2020 Professor of law Oxford University
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Who is another female law commissioner?
Professor Penney Lewis Professor of Criminal Law and Medical Law at Kings College Appointed Commissioner for criminal law in jan 2020
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Who is another male law commissioner?
Nicholas Paines QC Appointed Law Commissioner for public law in Nov 2013 Formally a puisne judge and leading silk in public and EU law
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What are the support staff?
There are 20 civil servants, members of the Government Legal Services working for the Law Commission There are a number of fixed terms (12 months) research assistants available for law graduates
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What are the main functions of the law commission?
Reform Codification Consolidation Repeal
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What is reform in the law commission?
Law Commissions Act 1965 requires the Commission to submit programmes for the examination of different branches of the law to the Lord Chancellor for his approval before undertaking new work Before deciding which projects to take forward the LC consults
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Selection of projects What does the law commission consider when reviewing an area of law reform against certain criteria:
Importance - extent to which law is unsatisfactory and potential benefits from reform Suitability - whether independant non political commission is most suitable body to conduct the review Resources - valid experience of commissioners and staff, funding a
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What are the stages of law reform project?
Initiation Pre consultation Consultation Policy development Reporting
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What is the initiation?
The Law Commission will decide on the remit of the project, in conjunction with the relevant Government department
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What is the pre consultation?
in this phase, the LC will undertake study of the area of law and indentify its defects, also look at other systems of law to see how they deal with similar problems, at this stage may also approach interest groups and specialists in area and produce prel
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What is the consultation?
c paper issued setting out in detail existing law and defects, giving arguments for and against possible solutions and inviting comments, paper is circulated widely to all interested individuals, organisation and to the media, feedback encouraged from int
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What is the policy development?
at this stage the LC will analyse the responses to the consultation, will be used to develop and refine policies and draft a Bill, LC may also identify further issues and consult on some or all the draft Bill
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What is reporting?
at end of project, LC usually publish report and submit the Lord Cancellor + relevant secretary of state, where necessary may include draft Bill that would give effect to the recommendations, depending on nature of project, final report may be in the form
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What is codification?
process of putting all laws on one topic in one document normally involve consolidation but may involve changing laws or introducing new laws
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When the law commission formed what was the codification announced to cover?
family law contract law landlord and tenant law law of evidence
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What is the draft criminal code?
The Law Commission drafted a criminal code which was published in 1989 Was a lengthy document requiring an enourmous amount of research over many years Parliament never implemented it
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Why did Parliament not introduce the Draft Criminal Code?
Outdated and need to modernise it, difficulty was that the code was so huge parliament doesnt have the time to read and debate all of it because parliament couldnt deal with how big it was
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What has the law commission since done to codification?
it has abandoned these schemes of Codification in favour of smaller scale reform in 2008 it announced it would concentrate on smaller areas of the code as it was more likely that government would be prepared to make reforms but in 2016 annual report state
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What is consolidation? What is an example?
Where existing laws on a topic are brought together in one statute, differs from codification as it does not involve changing laws or introducing new laws and generally smaller scale Charities Act 2011
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What is repeal?
Involves removal of old outdated laws or laws that have since been replaced with consolidation or codification By 2015 LC had repealed over 3000 out of date Acts of Parliament Many more acts have been partially repealed
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Repeal What did the statute law act do?
The Statute Law Repeals Act 2013 repealed many old laws including an Act from 1696 about the rebuilding of St Pauls Cathedral
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What is the implementation of law commissions proposals?
In first 10 years 85% of recommendations implemented In next 10 years this dropped to 50% In 1990 not one reform was implemented
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What are the key statutes introduced as a result of the law commission??
The Land Registration Act 2002, Corporate manslaughter and corporate homocide act 2007, coroners and justice act 2009 now abolished, consumer rights act 2015
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What are the advantages ?
Goes through a thorough process before considered by Parliament Necessary on technical legal issues
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What are the disadvantages?
Codification projects generally failed Parliament doesnt always follow expert advise Parliament doesnt always get the time to consider the proposals
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Who is responsible for referring areas of law for review?


The Lord Chancellor

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What is the law commission?


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Who is the law commission chaired by?


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Who can the commissioners be drawn from?


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