Past Inquiries


Grouped proceedings in the Federal Court

In February 1977 the Attorney-General referred to the ALRC matters relating to the access of citizens to courts. The final report, Grouped Proceedings in the Federal Court (ALRC Report 46), was tabled in federal Parliament in December 1988. ALRC Report 46 reported that the high cost of legal proceedings effectively prevented individuals and businesses who

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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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Insolvency and debt recovery

In May 1976 the ALRC received terms of reference requiring it to report upon whether the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth), as it applied to small debtors, made adequate provision for the compromise or discharge of their debts from present or future assets and earnings. The Commission also was required to consider what measures, if any, could be

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Spent convictions

The inquiry on spent convictions examined the question of whether criminal records should be deleted after specified time periods had elapsed. The Commission identified three related problems that affected former offenders: the extent to which members of the community could access information about criminal records; the extent to which access was being granted to that

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Terms of Reference for this inquiry were received on 7 April 1983. The doctrine of contempt had developed to allow courts to punish those who interfered with the administration of justice. At the time of the reference, a number of criticisms were being made of the doctrine as a whole. It was unclear exactly what

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Community law reform for the ACT – loss of consortium and compensation for loss of capacity to do housework

ALRC Report 32 (tabled 23 October 1986) examined the position in the Australian Capital Territory regarding the doctrine of loss of consortium. This doctrine allows a husband to recover damages for the loss of his wife’s companionship and services resulting from an injury inflicted on her through negligence. In the ALRC’s first report on community

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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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