Past Inquiries


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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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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The extensive task represented by the reference meant that the ALRC addressed two issues—a review of the existing law of evidence and whether there should be a uniform law of evidence and, if so, how this should be achieved.The interim report, ALRC Report 26, contained a detailed assessment of the law of evidence as applied

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Foreign state immunity

This inquiry considered the common law and statutory rules dealing with foreign state immunity and whether there was a need for Commonwealth legislation on the issue. The Final Report identified that there were good arguments both for extending a degree of immunity to foreign states before Australian courts, and for limiting the scope of that

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Privacy (1976-83)

The ALRC received a wide-ranging reference on privacy from the federal Attorney-General in April 1976. At the same time, public controversy arose in relation to certain aspects of the census to be held on 30 June 1976, therefore, the Attorney-General requested that the implications of the census for individual privacy be taken into account in

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