Past Inquiries

1981 - 1985


Occupiers’ liability

At the time of the inquiry (which commenced in July 1984), the common law on this subject was excessively technical and lacked uniformity. The outcome of a case would depend on the relationship between the occupier and the visitor—for example, whether they were invited onto the property or were trespassing. This process of classification often

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Standing in public interest litigation

In 1985 the Australian Law Reform Commission reported on the law of standing – the set of rules that determine whether a person is entitled to commence proceedings. ALRC Report 27 includes discussions on issues of standing in civil proceedings involving both the common law and statutes and discussions on the rules governing private prosecution. ALRC

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Criminal Admiralty Jurisdiction and Prize

In November 1982 the ALRC was directed to report on the Admiralty jurisdiction in Australia.ALRC Report 33 found that the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act 1890 (Imp) had limited civil admiralty jurisdiction to matters that were within the admiralty jurisdiction of England as at 1890. As a result there were many uncertainties about, and unjustified

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Enduring Powers of Attorney

The final report for this inquiry, Enduring Powers of Attorney (ALRC Report 47), was tabled on 6 April 1989. It outlines powers of attorney in the context of the management of an infirm person’s property. The report found that the existing law in the Australian Capital Territory was inadequate as a power of attorney lapsed

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Sentencing of federal offenders (1978-88)

In August 1978, the Attorney-General asked the ALRC to inquire into the ‘laws of the Commonwealth and the Australian Capital Territory relating to the imposition of punishment for offences and any related activity’. In 1979, a series of Research Papers was published as well as a Discussion Paper Sentencing: Reform Options (ALRC DP 10). In

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Matrimonial property

The ALRC received Terms of Reference to review laws relating to matrimonial property on 16 June 1983. The final report (ALRC Report 39) examined Australian community attitudes to questions of matrimonial property law. The emphasis was on assessing the contributions of the spouses to property and welfare of the family, which was impractical and inappropriate,

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Service and Execution of Process

In November 1982 the Commission was directed to review the process by which documents involved in legal proceedings are formally given to another person. Where people involved in legal proceedings are from different States or Territories, it can be difficult to perform tasks that are essential to the case, such as ensuring that all parties

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Aboriginal Customary Laws

The ALRC received terms of reference for this inquiry on 9 February 1977.During the course of the inquiry, three Discussion Papers were produced:Aboriginal Customary Law — Recognition? (ALRC DP 17) in 1980;Aboriginal Customary Law — Marriage, Children and the Distribution of Property (ALRC DP 18) in 1982; andAboriginal Customary Law — Criminal Law, Evidence and

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Domestic violence

The ALRC received Terms of Reference for this inquiry on 29 May 1984. The final report (ALRC Report 30, tabled March 1986) examined the issue of domestic violence within the Australian Capital Territory, focusing exclusively on incidents involving adult people who were married or living in a de facto relationship.Legal institutions’ responses to instances of

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Community law reform for the ACT – contributory negligence in fatal accident cases

As part of its law reform program for the Australian Capital Territory, the ALRC called for suggestions from members of the public as to which laws of the ACT required reform. In response to these public submissions, the ALRC considered a number of suggestions relating to negligence, including:abolition of the defence of contributory negligence in

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