Law Reform

Changing social values: The values of societies change over time. Society is forever changing values which then place’s pressure onto the law to change and adapt over time. What is seen as as acceptable may not be considered acceptable at another time. The urge for tougher sentencing in law reform may satisfy the deserved aspects of punishment, but harsher penalties are not statistically shown to reduce crime rates. Thus in seeking to promote social values for tougher penalties it undermines our social value for fairness and the concept of justice for the individual.

New concepts of justice: As the social values change, so does our views of the concept of justice. Sentencing laws are continually subject to law reform scrutiny. Areas where sentences are currently underview in NSW relate to corporate offences and Indigenous offenders. At the Federal level the use of periodic detention as a form of punishment has been questioned because of the difficulties in administering it. New Technology: New and advanced technology create the need for law reform. Once technology is in advance of the law then it makes pressure on the law to reform.

Example’s of this; The new mobile phone technology which allows for the taking of pictures which can be transmitted by SMS, lead to reform to privacy laws. As new technology is introduced it has allowed DNA testing, this assists in solving crimes, the use of such technologies can lead to criminal law reform. http://stage6. pbworks. com/f/Law+Reform. pdf Part B. 2. Agencies of reform NSW Law Reform Outline the roles of courts and parliaments in law reform and describe their limitations; Outline the role of the NSW Law Reform Commission;

Identify and outline the features of the NSW law Reform Commission; Identify FOUR current projects the the NSW Law Reform Commission is working on; Identify and describe the other organisations which are also ‘catalysts of change’ in NSW; The courts occupy in the development of the law. They do this by adapting to changing circumstances and reconsidering established doctrines. Although courts can only do this over a period of time, as their main function is the adjudication of individual disputes. It is now widely accepted that law reform is a legitimate function of courts.

The court is not a legislature or a law reform agency, its responsible to decide cases by applying the law to evidence found. The courts facilities, techniques and procedures are made for that responsibility not legislative function or law reform activities. The court cannot carry out investigations with a view to find something out whether particular common law rules are working well or they are adjusted to the needs of the community and popular assent. The court also cannot call for examine, submissions from groups and individuals whom are interested in the making if changes to the law.

The court cannot and doesn’t involve in the inquiries and assessments made by governments and law reform agencies. Parliament is responsible for most law reform. Parliament does this by passage of legislation, the reforms initiated within it have diminished over the years. Members of parliament have a huge range of commitments, the amount of specialised up to date knowledge required to imitate reforms is not available or is not able to be obtained within the limited time available. Australia had no tradition of significant reforms being introduced by private members bills.

A system of parliamentary committees performing investigative and law reform functions although adopted, has had not much success in Australia. Some exceptions although include, The Commonwealth, Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs and the Victorian Parliamentary Legal and Constitutional committee. Officers within government departments have the main task of implementing government policy and seeing to the manifold business of public administration. Law reform tasks are both technical and a broader social policy nature fall within their purview and are accomplished as a result of their research.

They tend to concentrate on areas considered to have immediate political importance. Many reforms are complex and specialised, requiring long deliberation. Government looks for consultation with interested individuals, although their mode of operation is kept confidential. The particular units of government departments mostly concerned with law reform do not have a high public profile. The Law Society and Bar Association have a long tradition of involvement in attempts to improve the legal system.

The NSW Law Reform Commission was established, by the administrative act in 1966, and then by statute in 1967, as the first permanent body in Australia with the task to reform law. The commission is required to consider the laws of NSW with a view to: eliminating defects and anachronisms, repealing obsolete or unnecessary enactments, consolidating, codifying or revising the law, simplifying or modernising the law, adopting new or more effective methods for the administration of the law, and Systematically developing and reforming the law.

The NSW law reform commission are currently working on projects. These include; The review of compensation to relatives; this is to consider the merits of amending the legislation to overrule the principle that compensation to a relative for pecuniary loss is reduced to the extent that general damages to the legal personal representative of the deceased have already increased the amount to be distributed to the relative from the deceased’s estate. The Law Reform Commission is to review bail law in NSW.

In undertaking this inquiry the Commission developed a legislative framework that provides access to bail in appropriate cases having regard to: whether the Bail Act should include a statement of its objects and if so, what those objects should be; whether the Bail Act should include a statement of the factors to be taken into account in determining a bail application and if so, what those factors should be; what presumptions should apply to bail determinations and how they should apply; the available responses to a breach of bail including the legislative framework for the exercise of police and judicial discretion when responding to a breach; he desirability of maintaining s22A;

whether the Bail Act should make a distinction between young offenders and adults and if so, what special provision should apply to young offenders; whether special provisions should apply to vulnerable people including Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, cognitively impaired people and those with a mental illness. In considering this question particular attention should be given to how the latter two categories of people should be defined; the terms of bail schemes operating in other jurisdictions, in particular those with a relatively low and stable remand population, such as the UK and Australian states such as Victoria, and of any reviews of those schemes; and, any other related matter. Privacy; concern has arose due to the advances of new technology such as the increase of surveillance, the growth of mobile phone use, and the introduction of biometric scanning.

Jury directions in criminal trials; Increasing number and complexity of the directions, warnings and comments required to be given by a judge to a jury; the timing, manner and methodology adopted by judges in summing up to juries (including the use of model or pattern instructions); the ability of jurors to comprehend and apply the instructions given to them by a judge; whether other assistance should be provided to jurors to supplement the oral summing up. NSW have other organisations which are catalysts of change. This includes: Government policies Every government minister has the job of introducing legislation about matters that fall within his or her portfolio. Members have responsibility for implementing their parties political platform.

This legislation is generally prepared by the relevant government department. Parliamentary committees Every parliament has a number of committees where members of parliament from all parties investigate matters and make suggestions for changes to the law. A report that has support from all sides of politics will often be implemented readily. Any member of parliament is entitled to introduce a private members bill. Ad hoc committees Ministers can appoint an ad hoc committee of experts to investigate particular matter and give advice on how the law in that area should be reformed. Such committees use many of the techniques of a law reform commission to consult with the community on what the law should be.

Although they have limited responsibility. Royal commissions often recommend reform of the law in their reports. Permanent advisory bodies There are many bodies established by governments which have an ongoing responsibility to monitor the operation of, and propose reform to the law in, a particular area. In the federal sphere these include the Australian Institute of Criminology, the Family Law Council, the Administrative Review Council, the Copyright Law Review Committee, and the Companies and Securities Advisory Committee. In New South Wales there are the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, the Anti-Discrimination Board and the Youth Advisory Council. Independent authorities.

Some independent bodies have the responsibility of investigating the activities of private citizens and government officials which can also advise the Government about law reform. The Independent Commission Against Corruption in New South Wales, the federal National Crime Authority, and in Queensland the Criminal Justice Commission all regularly advise their Governments on how the law could be improved as a result of their investigations. Professional associations The Law Society of New South Wales and the Bar Association represent the majority of lawyers in New South Wales. These professional associations regularly suggest amendments to the laws in New South Wales, both in relation to their profession and more generally. Australian Law Reform.

When and why was the Australian Law Reform Commission established; Outline the accountability of the Australian Law Reform Commission; Why is it one of the most effective and influential agents of change in Australia; Identify FOUR areas that the Australian Law Reform Commission is currently working on; Find and read a current case study - name the case study and provide a brief outline of the case; Australian law reform commission- established in 1975. The ALRC is a permanent, independent federal statutory corporation, operating under the Australian Law Reform Commission Act 1996. The ALRC makes inquiries known as references into areas of law reform at the request of the Attorney-General of Australia. While accountable to the federal Parliament for its budget and activities.

The ALRC does not support the inclusion of a discrete ‘Accountability’ principle in the model UPPs. Ensuring that agencies and organisations are accountable for their handling of personal information can be better achieved using alternate ways. Accountability also is important to the ALRC’s recommended ‘Cross-border Data Flows’ principle. This principle establishes accountability as the default position in relation to cross-border data flows. An agency or organisation is responsible under the Privacy Act for the acts and practices of a recipient of personal information that is the subject of a cross-border transfer unless one of the three exceptions applies.

Provided these recommendations are followed, there will be few situations where an agency or organisation is not responsible for handling personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act. Nearly 80 per cent of the ALRC’s reports have been either substantially or partially implemented. This is making it one of the most effective and influential agents for legal reform in Australia. Area’s the ALRC are currently working on;

The reconciliation action plan (2012-14). The ALRC has come up with some practical outcomes for this action plan, these include; engage and consult with Indigenous groups, individuals and organisations; promote Indigenous representation in the ALRC workforce and internship program; promote a meaningful understanding of issues relevant to Indigenous peoples amongst ALRC staff; consider the impact on Indigenous peoples in developing recommendations for reform; and Strive in all aspects of our work to protect and promote the rights of Indigenous peoples. Age barriers to work (Feb2012-Mar2013).

On 8 February 2012, the Attorney-General announced an inquiry into legal barriers to mature age persons participating in the workforce—namely for people aged 45 years and over. Under the Terms of Reference, the ALRC is to identify these barriers and consider reforms to address them in Commonwealth laws, including: social security, superannuation, insurance, compensation and employment. Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan has been appointed to the ALRC as a Part-time Commissioner to assist with the Inquiry. National Classification Scheme Review.

On 24 March 2011, Attorney-General Robert McClelland referred the National Classification Scheme to the ALRC and asked it to conduct widespread public consultation across the community and industry. The review will consider issues including: existing Commonwealth, State and Territory classification laws the current classification categories contained in the Classification Act, Code and Guidelines the rapid pace of technological change the need to improve classification information available to the community the effect of media on children and the desirability of a strong content and distribution industry in Australia. Red Cross Australia Outline the mission of the Australian Red Cross as a NGO; International When was the International Red Cross established and why;

Outline the role of the International Red Cross today; Australian Red Cross- The power of Humanity In all activities volunteers, members and staff of the Red Cross are guided by the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. These principles include; Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary service, Unity, Universality. The international Red Cross- 1859, by Henry Dunant and four other men. The movement is widely known as an unstoppable force for help and compassion. They work to promote safer, healthier and more sustainable lives for people in developing countries particularly in the Asia Pacific region.

The international Red Cross help build resident communities by strengthening national society partners in their planning for effective disaster preparedness, and early recovery. Articles that highlight law reform Law reform bid to protect migrant women - February 9th 2012, Sydney Morning Herald The article discusses Australians need of new immigration laws to protect migrant women fleeing family violence. The proposals were welcomed by services struggling with a surge in temporary migrants seeking help. Abortion law reform is still unfinished business -March 8th 2011, Sydney Morning Herald In Law, Australian women do not have a right to choose in any other state other than the ACT and VIC (24 weeks) and in more compromised and only up to 20 weeks in WA.

The article states; ‘The law's lack of clarity, its paternalism, the profound disconnect between it and community standards about privacy, gender equity and the entitlement of patients to ethical and professional medical care unequivocally demonstrates that it is indeed broke. ’ Help shape the curve on drug-law reform -May 19th 2012, Sydney Morning Herald The question up for debate is "Should the government decriminalise drugs? " There are six stages to the WikiCurve: discovery, theory development, popular interest, public debate, policy and regulation and mainstream acceptance. In the early stages, organisations can wait to see how things develop.

In the middle, they should start to put resources into influencing opinions and shaping the debate. By the later stages, they need to adjust their behaviour to be in alignment with community expectations. The federal government believes society is not ready to change the law. It may well be right - it may be wrong. Part A. 3. – Mechanisms of reform Outline the role of the mechanisms of law reform; The Legislature The term ‘legislature’ is the proper name given to the houses – or ‘chambers’ – of parliament within any of the governments in australia. the legislature at both federal and state/territory levels of government is made up of people elected by citizens.

The word ‘legislate’ means ‘to make or enact laws’ and the term ‘legislature’ means ‘the power that makes or enacts laws; a body of people empowered to make or enact laws’. The Judiciary The judiciary is the branch of government that decides when laws have been broken (breached) based on evidence presented in court cases and on what the penalty or remedy is to be for the particular breach of the law. All people holding the position of ‘judge’ or ‘justice’ are members of the judiciary. They are always people who are qualified as lawyers. Most of them have been barristers The judiciary have two roles in the law-making process: interpretation and ‘filling the gaps’ in legislation.

The most common role of a judge is to interpret how a law applies to a particular situation. This is often done with statute law. The statute might be quite general in how it deals with a situation, or not particularly clear. The role of the judge is to decide what the law means in relation to the particular case. Making new law If a judge is dealing with a case and there are no previous cases on the same question and there is no statute dealing with the situation, the judge may use common law principles to develop a specific way to decide the particular case. This could include looking at what the law says about similar situations, and what the law in other common law countries says about the situation.

This role is less common for judges, as most areas of law are covered by statutes. The Executive’s role in Law Reform; Government departments have staff to research and develop policies for improving particular aspects within the department’s responsibility. Example: the Attorney General’s Department may have staff looking at developments in the legal systems of other countries to see if they might be applicable to the Australian legal system. Research on laws and legal systems is carried out, at the request of the Attorney General. The executive can also rely on research by others, such as university academics, community organisations or industry bodies.

Once research has been done, the executive is usually involved in writing the proposed law and sometimes asking the community for its comments and ideas about the law. Often changes are made to a proposed law during this process. Once the proposed law is ready, it is presented to Cabinet, which decides whether or not to take the proposed law to parliament in the form of a Bill. Outline the impact of international law on Australian law; International law is the term used to describe the laws that have developed at an international level to regulate the relationships between countries and also to regulate the conduct of countries towards citizens and non-citizens.

The process for Australia to agree to an international treaty or convention is that it first signs the treaty and then may, at the same time or at a later time, ratify the treaty. By ratifying a treaty, Australia is effectively agreeing to make laws in Australia that reflect the requirements of the treaty. It is not required to do this in a single law. If Australia has ratified a treaty, but has not passed laws that reflect the treaty, the treaty may still have effect through influencing the way in which courts interpret Australian laws: a court will generally try to find a way of applying Australian laws that is consistent with treaties that Australia has ratified. United Nations Cyber school bus

Outline the limitations the UN has as a mechanism of change; As the United Nations approaches the 65th anniversary of its founding, the age of mandatory retirement for many, serious questions have been raised as to whether the U. N. might not also have reached the end of its useful working life. Identify ONE area of law reform in Australia where international law has had an impact; Increasingly, laws in Australia and other countries reflect international law. This is because of the much greater level of contact between countries. In some areas of international law, the influence is very large. For example, Australian laws about what can and can’t be imported into this country have to be consistent with international trade law. International trade laws can also affect what governments in Australia are allowed to make rules about.

For example, an Australian government cannot generally make laws that give preference to the purchase of Australian products. Part B: Law reform is the process by which the law is modified and shaped over time to better reflect the social values that society feels are important. The law cannot stand still. A major function of the legal system is to respond to changing values and concerns within society, resolve issues as they develop, overcome problems that occur in legal cases or events, promote equality and respond to scientific or technological developments. Law reform is essential if the law is to remain relevant to a changing society. Society is forever changing values which then place’s pressure onto the law to change and adapt over time.

What is seen as as acceptable may not be considered acceptable at another time. As the social values change, so does our views of the concept of justice. Sentencing laws are continually subject to law reform scrutiny. New and advanced technology create the need for law reform. Once technology is in advance of the law then it makes pressure on the law to reform. The courts occupy in the development of the law. They do this by adapting to changing circumstances and reconsidering established doctrines. Although courts can only do this over a period of time, as their main function is the adjudication of individual disputes. It is now widely accepted that law reform is a legitimate function of courts.

Parliament is responsible for most law reform. Parliament does this by passage of legislation, the reforms initiated within it have diminished over the years. Officers within government departments have the main task of implementing government policy and seeing to the manifold business of public administration. The NSW Law Reform Commission was established, by the administrative act in 1966, and then by statute in 1967, as the first permanent body in Australia with the task to reform law. The Law Reform Commission is to review bail law in NSW. In undertaking this inquiry the Commission developed a legislative framework that provides access to bail in appropriate cases.

Every government minister has the job of introducing legislation about matters that fall within his or her portfolio. Members have responsibility for implementing their parties political platform. This legislation is generally prepared by the relevant government department. Every parliament has a number of committees where members of parliament from all parties investigate matters and make suggestions for changes to the law. Ministers can appoint an ad hoc committee of experts to investigate particular matter and give advice on how the law in that area should be reformed. There are many bodies established by governments which have an ongoing responsibility to monitor the operation of, and propose reform to the law in, a particular area.