Despite the law being adaptable in its present form it quires an overhaul and codification to make it understandable to the lay person and ensure it runs efficiently. Reforms will reduce costs, delays and injustice in the courts but as a result of Political Reality will probably never happen. Any reform will need judicial interpretation. The defence is also too wide with 'Disease of the mind' So broad it covers non mental disorders such as Diabetes and epilepsy.
The illness of diabetes can be either insanity (if hypoglycemia – Hennessey) that results in a special verdict or automatism (if hyperglycemia – Quick)that results in an acquittal, this is not fair as it is the same illness. The judge only has a choice of 4 special verdicts and if it is a Murder case has no choice but a Hospital order, this has led to cases such as Thomas where the Judge directs the jury to acquit the D. These problems are evidenced but the defences lack of use, as in murder cases D's are more likely to plead DR even though it will lead to a long jail sentence they will get out.
Possible reforms include the Butler Committee's suggestion of "Not guilty by evidence of a mental disorder" Another is to extend DR to cover insanity and then abolish the law of insanity. Reform of Intoxication. Majewski said it was a defence to specific intent only, however the distinction between basic and specific is illogical and unfair as intoxication means abolition of MR. If you don't have MR for one crime, you should not have it for another
This undermines the basic principle of law that there must be MR . The Butler Committee in 1975 suggested an alternative approach as used in Germany where when they are not liable for a crime due to intoxication they will be liable for a separate offence of intoxication. This preserves the logic of the law and prevents people from escaping liability. HOWEVER, this categorises a wide range of offences under one title and the public will not know what specific offence was committed
In 2009 the Law Commission suggested keeping the law largely as it is but codifying it with clearer definitions of what is basic and specific intent .Problems with involuntary intoxication include Kingston as Drunken Intent is still Intent. Prof. Clarkson argues this is unfair to convict a person when their powers of reason have been removed by a third party. Drunken Mistakes (O'Grady/Hatton) are not a defence, although this goes against the rules of normal intoxication – Inconsistency with the way the law is dealt with in intoxication (Aitken/Richardson + Irwin)