Where next for law reform?

We are asking you: where next for law reform in Australia? What areas of law should be the subject of an ALRC Inquiry? 

The ALRC has initiated a national conversation about what should be the priorities for law reform over the next three to five years. This conversation is about giving Australians a say in what areas of law should be the focus of a law reform inquiry by the ALRC.

Through an online survey, individuals and organisations have had the opportunity to provide comments on potential law reform topics and make their own suggestions about areas of law they believe are in need of reform. Over 400 people completed the survey. The ALRC has also been holding consultations with key stakeholders and conducting public seminars.

This national conversation forms part of the ALRC’s longstanding commitment to broad public participation in law reform.

This project will culminate in a proposed three to five year programme of law reform projects that the ALRC will submit to the Commonwealth Attorney-General for consideration in late 2019. While it is the responsibility of the Attorney-General to determine which matters are to be examined by the ALRC, the ALRC may make suggestions. By hosting this national conversation the ALRC is asking the public what suggestions it should make to the Attorney-General.

To start the conversation we prepared a short PDF iconnote outlining:

  • our consultation process,
  • how we will prioritise potential law reform projects; and
  • some suggestions for areas of law ripe for reform.

In May and June 2019, the ALRC held four seminars on the future of law reform in conjunction with the Law Schools at the University of NSW, Australian National University, and the University of Melbourne. To find out more about each seminar you can read a short summary:

We have now compiled a draft shortlist of topics for further consideration and refinement. The major topics at this stage include:

1. Establishment of a constitutional reform body;
2. Freedom of speech;
3. Freedom of the press;
4. Principle-based regulation of financial services;
5. Alignment of environmental and other legislation;
6. Complementary federal, state and territory environmental laws; and
7. Automated decision making.

Other potential inquiry topics include the regulation of various financial services, simplification of migration legislation, statutory drafting practices, indemnification of trustees, creditors’ rights and insolvency of trusts, and legal structures and regulation of various corporate entities.

We have held a webinar with Wolters Kluwer CCH and a seminar (also accessible online) with the Law Society of Western Australia to discuss the shortlisted topics. Click here for a summary of the Perth seminar.

We are now conducting further research and targeted consultations to refine the shortlist in preparation for the final report. Watch this space for details of our report launch later in the year.