Law Commission

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  • Created by: bananaaar
  • Created on: 24-10-13 09:40

What is the Law Commission?

  • Full time specialist independant body formed under the ...

  • Law Commission Act 1965 

  • Keeps existing law under review to ensure they are appropriate to modern day society. 
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Composition of the Law Commission.

  • 5 full time commissioners (a chairman, and 4 other commissioners) supported by a team of lawyers, researchers and administrative staff. 
  • Each commissioner is appointed by the Lord Chancellor and Minister of Justice. 
  • Chairman must be a High Court Judge (under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007) 
  • Chairman is appointed for 3 years
  • Commissioners are appointed for up to 5 years from the top ranks of the legal profession. 
  • Each commissioner is responsible for a different area of law. 
  • Commissioners are supported by a chief excecutive and 20 members of Government Legal Service, two parliamentary draftsmen (to draft proposed Bills) & research assistants. 
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How the Law Commission reform the law.

  • Referral - Topics may be referred on the behalf of the Government by the Lord Chancellor. 
  • Research - Law Commission researches areas of law in need of reform and publishes a consultation paper asking for public, government and lawyers' opinions. This is submitted to Lord Chancellor for approval. 
  • Consultation - Consultation paper allows interested parties to comment. It describes current laws, sets out problems, and reform options. 
  • Report - Commission draw up positive proposals for reform and publish along with the research to give them the conclusion. Often Bill is attached to report. Bill then goes through legislative procedure. 
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Role of Law Commission

  • Law reform is ROLE OF PARLIAMENT. 
  • Law Commission can only make reccomendations on law reform. 
  • Section 3 of the Law Commission Act 1965 - function of Law Commission is to keep all law under review with a systematic development and reform. 
  • Law Commission must identify areas in need of reform, repeal obselete laws and modernise law. 
  • Must consider specific areas reffered to Commission by Lord Chancellor or Government Department. However Commission can choose areas to consider but public must be asked before they decide on a research programme. 
  • Law Commission Act 2009 - duty on Lord Chancellor to report annually to Parliament. 
  • New protocol means that government departments must provide response within 6 months, and full response within a year. 
  • This leads to increased cooperation after the year 1990 when no laws were reformed. 
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What the Law Commission Does:

  • Keep all law under review by : Researching area of law in need of reform, issue a Consultation Paper, issuing a Final Report containing positive proposals and a draft Bill. 
  • Repeal obsolete laws by forming Statute Law (Repeals) Bill for parliament to pass. 
  • Example : Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1998 repealed over 150 complete outdated Acts of Parliament.
  • Consolidate Laws - bringing existing statutes all into one Act. Eg Family Laws Act 1996 consolidated domestic violence laws. 
  • Not always best as shown in Draft Criminal Code which brings all criminal law into one act. Takes too much parliamentary time to be scrutinized. 
  • Codify areas of Law - Single statute containing whole area of law such as criminal law. Criminal Code Act 1985 and the Full Code 1989 were attempts to codify all criminal law. 
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Success of Law Commission

Successes of Law Commission.  

  • 185 reports, two thirds have been implimented. 
  • 90 Acts of Parliament passed containing Law Commission Proposals 
  • 18 repealing reports have been implemented. 
  • Success example : Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (new law on manslaughter proposed in 1996) 
  • Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1998 repealed over 150 Acts. 
  • Family Law Act 1996 
  • Costs only £4 million per year to run 
  • Law Commission Act 2009 aims to improve implementation rate in the future. 
  • Government dont have to act on reccomendations but the Law Commission is most crucial influences on Parliament. 
  • Greatest impact on law and citizens. 
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Success of Law Commission

Not so Successfull...

  • Lengthy delays to responses in government to the Law Commission Report, particularly from 1990-2000. 
  • when it was established 85% of proposals came law, this decreased to 50% in following years. 
  • No proposals were successful in 1990. 
  • Consolidating Acts takes up valuable Parliamentary time to scrutinize. 
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