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Law Revision Notes G152 Law Reform
Law reform is the process of examining existing laws, and advocating and
implementing changes in the legal system, usually with the aim of enhancing
justice or efficiency.
Why do we need law reform?
The law becomes outdated and it needs to move with the times
o Sunday Trading Act 1994 allowed shops to open and trade due to change in
Public taste as less religious.
To take into account social change or opinion
o The Abortion Act 1967 gave women the right to choose to have an abortion
To respond to particular events
o Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 reflected concern over a spate of vicious dog
To keep the law under review and in an accessible and manageable state.
Impetus for Law Reform
Parliament Is supreme and can change the law at any time. The main influence on
o The Government
o Pressure Groups
o Backbench MPs these may introduce a Private Members Bill but there is little
chance of it being passed.
Judges Decide points of law in cases, putting Law into regulation. A new point of law
allows them to make new law. But:
o Limited role in law reform in case of C v DPP (1995) they said `We cannot make
such major changes in the law...it is for the government to do what they want."
o They have changed the law in the cases of Airedale NHS Trust v Bland (1993) and
R v R.
Law Reform Agencies
The Law Reform Committee
Created in 1952.
Part time and considers small areas of civil law on narrow and technical points which are
referred to the Government.
o Occupier's Liability Act 1957
o Criminal Evidence Act 1968
o Latent Damage Act 1986
The Law commission has consulted this committee on areas of civil law such as trust law.
Criminal Law Revision Committee
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Created in 1957. Sat monthly up to 1986 and produced 18 reports
Part time body that considers changes in the Criminal Law.
Many of its smaller, specific recommendations become law but broad changes do not
due to lack of parliamentary time.
Success: codification of theft and related offences in the Theft Act 1968.
***** The Law Commission *****
The main law reform body, set up in 1965 by the Law Commissions Act.…read more
Here's a taster:
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 made
corporations and organisations criminally liable for deaths of their workers in their
Are groups of independent experts are asked to consider a specific area of concern.
Set up on an ad hoc basis, to investigate issues & formulate their proposals. Once the report
is finished, the group disbands.
Usually for problem with an existing area of law.…read more