Law Reform


Impetus for Law Reform: The role of Parliament , the role of judges, effect of public opinion and pressure groups, leading to changes in the law.

Why do we need Law Reform?

a) The law becomes outdated and it needs to move with the times, i.e. Sunday Trading Act 1994.

b)The law takes into account social change and public opinion, i.e. The Abortion Act 1967

c) The law responds to particular events, i.e. Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001.

Role of Parliament:

Parliament is supreme and can change the law at any time. The Main influences on Parliament are;

a) The Government - pushing through legislation to reflect manifesto promises.

b) Backbench MPs - introducing Private Members Bills, i.e. Abortion Act 1967 (MP David Steel)

c) Pressure Groups - i.e. Snowdrop Campaign, following Dunblane Massacre led to Firearms Act 1984

d) Treaty Obligations - The need to comply with European directives.

Role of the Judiciary: 

This is limited; in C v DPP 1995, which raises the issue of children's liability for crome, the Supreme court said 'We cannot make such major changes in the law... it is for the government to do what they want' thus saying no other body can challenge an at of parliament.

Judicial precedent imposes restraint on law reform i.e. the court of appeal is bound by itself, Supreme Court and European Court of Justice. However the judge can speak out on the need to change the law.

Law Reform Agencies:

a) The Law Commission…


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