The advantages of this law commission is that it is a full time body which shows that it is always in operation, it is the main law reform body, they have support staff to assist in research, they have a rotating chair person which shows that they have fresh ideas and brains and they have a clear role (S.3 of the act). The topics that the law commission have to consider are referred to by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the government. Otherwise the Law Commission can select an area they feel is in need to reform. There are many stages of the process of law reform. Firstly the commission have to research the area of law that they are covering and they have to suggest what is need to reform. The commission will then publish a consultation paper which will seek the opinions on the reform. This paper will describe the current law and shows the problems and also look for options on reformation. Following this, the commission will draw up positive proposals for reformation which will be presented in a report which sets out the research that led to the conclusions. Very often there will be a bill attached to the report with intent that this is the way that the reform will come into effect. Lastly, the bill has to enter parliament and has to go through the process from parliament to become law. This is the aspect of law that creates back log of reforms because parliament often fail to consider the reforms that are proposed.
The law commission can reform the law in many different ways. Firstly they can do it by repeal, this is a way of tidying up statutes, they get rid of law, they pass ‘Statutes Law Repeal Act 1995.’ Another way they can reform the law is by consolidation, this brings all acts of parliament together on a subject and put them under one piece of legislation. The final way they can reform law is by Codification. This is when they bring all law together (common law and statute law) on one subject. This aspect of law reform is set out in S.3 of the Law Commission Act 1965.
In order to judge the success of the Law Commission we have to consider the areas of law that were to be reformed and whether those reforms were introduced. The law commission was successful in reforming small areas of law. The first 20 reforms were enacted within an average of 2 years. Within 10 years of its existence it had a high success rate of 85%. Possibly the other 15% went on backlogs or they could be still waiting to be reformed.
In the last 10 years parliament has lost interest in law reform, because of technical and uninteresting areas of law, also because there was not enough time to consider all proposals. The recent 5 year review has proved that the main problem with law reform is the inability of the departments to accept proposal and create an opportunity for discussion. However, the lack of reforms caused a great deal of concern. This led to the introduction of the Jellicoe Procedure which was meant to speed up the number of reforms that made it into the law. It has been successful in introducing some reform however it is still limited. Criminal law has also created a big unresolved problem because it cant use fast track procedures as it is too controversial.
The current role of the law commission as a whole is as follows: It reviews the law independently from Government with the aim of securing benefits for the public, its purpose is also to achieve real benefits from the public (citizens, organisations and institutions) that live under and use the law. It can do this in many ways. Firstly it can make substantive changes to the law to produce fair balance between various rights and obligations that law creates. It can make the law simpler by removing any unnecessary procedures, duplications or by permitting modern technology. It may also make the law more clearer and more accessible. This leads to prove that people are more likely to comply with the law if it is simple and clear, it could also result in fewer disputes and less expense due to less legal advice.
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Summary: This is a general answer on the work and effectiveness of the Law Commission. The answer would have been improved throughout by including examples of the work of the Commission. Rating: ***