Justice Sarah Derrington, President of the ALRC, speaking at the Supreme and Federal Judges’ Conference 2019.
When I was invited (almost 12 months ago now) to speak at this conference and on this topic, I felt relatively confident that after a year in the role as President of the ALRC, I might have some useful thoughts to share with you about future directions in law reform. That confidence evaporated rapidly
when I began preparing theses remarks.
I have identified two main reasons for that loss of confidence (in addition to the obvious point that it is not a topic that lends itself naturally to humour). The first, and most important, reason has been the realisation of just how little influence the ALRC itself has in the topics that will be selected for future law reform references and the degree of political expediency involved the topics that are referred to the Commission. The second reason is the great uncertainty that surrounds the funding of the ALRC and the obvious challenge such uncertainty presents for ensuring that the ALRC can attract and retain a legal team of the highest quality.