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Influences on law reform.

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Introduction

Influences on law reform. There are many influences on the way our law is formed and it can come from a number of sources. Some of these influences may have more effects than others. It is also possible that in some situations there maybe conflicting interests about the way that the law should be reformed. There are official bodies whose work is to recommended changes in the law to the government. These are the Law Commissions and occasionally Royal Commissions. There are also pressure groups, which may provide the movement for law reform. Where a subject has a particularly high profile, Parliament may lean down to public opinion and alter the law. We saw this in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The Law Commission in its consultation process will also obtain the views of pressure groups with a particular interest in the area of law under review. Events in the world may also lead to government to reform the law. The terrorist attacks in America on 11th September 2001 led to the British Government enacting new laws against terrorism in the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. The Law commission is a fulltime advisory body, which was set up in 1965 by the Law Commissions Acts. It consists of a chairman, who is a High Court judge, and four other law commissioners. ...read more.

Middle

Apart from the full-time Law Commission there are also temporary committees or Royal Commissions set up to investigate and report on one specific area of law. These are dissolved after completed their task. Such Royal Commissions were used frequently from 1945 to 1979, but during the time when Margaret Thatcher was Prime minister, none was set up. In the 1990s there was a return to the use of such commissions. Members of a Royal Commission are selected from judges, academic lawyers and other people with knowledge of the subject who have other jobs. This means the Commission can only sit part time so it can often take a long time for the Commission to report back. Some Royal Commissions have led to important changes in the law, or for example the Royal Commission on Police Procedure reported in 1981 and many of its recommendations were given effect by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. However the government does not always act on recommendations. For example, the report of the Pearson Commission on Personal Injury cases was never brought into effect. With the Runciman Commission, which reported in 1993, the Government implemented many of the proposals, but not all. A pressure group can be described as an organised group that does not put up candidates for election, but seeks to influence government policy or legislation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Decision makers might support their aims but do not consult them because they are thought to have little to offer. In addition there is a category of outsider groups that do not aim for insider status because they are ideologically opposed to the political system. By definition, such groups have no interest in gaining access to governmental decision makers. Pressure groups assist the surveillance of the government by exposing information it would rather keep secret, thereby reinforcing and complementing work of opposition through political parties. Pressure groups thereby improve the accountability of decision makers to electorates. Example of British Pressure Groups. * Charter 88 - campaigning for a written constitution and entrenched Bill of Rights * British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection - campaigning to halt the breeding and use of animals in experiments; * British Roads Federation - aiming to focus attention for a higher standard of service from the UK road network; * Earth First - campaigning against the destruction of the environment; * Liberty - campaigning to defend and extend human rights and civil liberties * Unison - trade union for public sector workers; * National Union of Students (NUS); * Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA); * National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC Pressure groups are an essential dimension of any democracy, yet they can endanger democracy if sectional groups undermine the public interest or if the methods they use are corrupt or intimidating. Sabrina Ali ...read more.

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