Past Inquiries


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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Insurance agents, brokers and contracts

When the inquiry into the law governing contracts of insurance was given to the ALRC in September 1976, the law regulating insurance contracts had not kept pace with the growth of a national insurance industry. Considerable confusion surrounded an agent’s authority when contracting on behalf of insurance companies. Some companies were using contracts as a

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Child welfare laws and practices (ACT)

The Child Welfare report reviews the child welfare laws and practices in the Australian Capital Territory.The ALRC observed that the Children’s Court and police service lacked a clear policy and practical guidelines on how to manage cases involving young offenders.In addition, the welfare system was found to be inadequately equipped to deal with neglected, abused and uncontrollable

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Lands acquisition and compensation

Terms of reference were provided to the ALRC on 7 July 1977. The inquiry looked at laws relating to the acquisition of land by the Commonwealth, which was dealt with in the Land Acquisitions Act 1955 (Cth), and compensation for persons whose land or business was adversely affected by the construction or use of Commonwealth works.At the

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Defamation and unfair publication

ALRC Report 11 proposed far reaching changes in Australia’s defamation law. It dealt with two important but competing interests: the protection of individual honour, reputation and dignity against the protection of freedom of expression and access to public affairs.The report pointed out that the laws governing these matters in Australia were complex and inconsistent from

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