ALRC Brief | January 2021

ALRC momentum continues into 2021

Last year saw unprecedented times as Australia and the international community adapted to the challenges of a global pandemic. Despite those challenges, it was a productive year for the ALRC: completing the Corporate Criminal Responsibility Inquiry; monitoring legislative developments relevant to our review of the framework of religious exemptions in anti-discrimination legislation; reporting on the ground-breaking Future of Law Reform project; and receiving the referral of two new Inquiries by the Commonwealth Attorney-General. 

In September 2020, the ALRC welcomed the Inquiry references by the Attorney-General of Australia, the Hon Christian Porter MP. The first Inquiry topic is judicial impartiality, with the ALRC asked to undertake a review of the laws relating to impartiality and bias as they apply to the federal judiciary. The second Inquiry topic is a review of the legislative framework for corporations and financial services regulation, considering the potential simplification of laws that regulate financial services in Australia.

As our Inquiries advance, we continue to share our findings and progress. The Inquiry Approach for the Financial Services Inquiry was released in December 2020, providing overarching direction for the three interim reports culminating in the final report, which is due by November 2023. In addition, the first of the Background Papers for the Judicial Impartiality Inquiry is now available for download on our website: The law on judicial bias: A primer (JI1).

Aligning with our broad consultative strategy, a range of thought-provoking webinars are planned for both the Financial Services Inquiry and the Judicial Impartiality Inquiry in 2021. We are thrilled to be working with world-renowned experts as they share their expertise at online and in-person events. The inclusion of open Q&A sessions at each event will provide an opportunity to unpack the complexity of the current legal landscape and hear expert opinions on best practice for law reform. Stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest updates. 

The new year holds a number of challenges due to Covid-19, however, the ALRC is in an excellent position to continue to undertake rigorous and evidence-based research, making informed recommendations to government to simplify and strengthen Australia’s laws. 

We look forward to continuing this important work in the coming year.


Looking for data on corporate crime?

Download the primary data utilised in the Corporate Criminal Responsibility Final Report.
Available in the Data Appendices and in excel format: https://www.alrc.gov.au/publication/corporate-criminal-responsibility/


Welcome new staff

The ALRC welcomes new staff members to our team for 2021: Senior Legal Officers Christopher Ash and William Isdale; Legal Officer Nicholas Simoes da Silva; Research Associates Adam Khadra and Claudia Harper; and Research Assistant Laura Heit.


Aurora InternL-R: Justice SC Derrington, Sharna Willie and Sarah Fulton

In January Aurora Intern Sharna Willie, a Nunukul and Barada Kabalbara woman, joined the ALRC for a six week placement.

The Internship provides participating students with an opportunity to learn and contribute to the law reform process in Australia.

L-R: Justice SC Derrington, Sharna Willie and Sarah Fulton


Developing the law reform mindsetWilliam Isdale

William Isdale (ALRC Senior Legal Officer) reflects on his move from private practice to the ALRC.
At the start of this year I made the move from a large law firm to the Australian Law Reform Commission. Day to day, I still rely on many of the same skills and focus on the same legislation and case law. And yet, the move from advisory lawyer to law reformer has required me to develop a different way of thinking about the law – a ‘law reform mindset’.
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