The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) supports the Attorney-General and the Government in the maintenance and improvement of Australia’s system of law and justice, by contributing to the process of law reform in Australia. The ALRC’s outcome is:
informed Government decisions about the development,reform and harmonisation of Australian laws and related processes through research, analysis, reports and community consultation and education.
Under the Australian Law Reform Commission Act 1996 (Cth) (ALRC Act), the ALRC’songoing function is to undertake inquiries on matters referred to it by the Attorney-General and to review Commonwealth laws relevant to those matters for the purposeof systematically developing and reforming the law. In pursuing this function, the ALRC provides the Government with timely reports outlining recommendations for law reform that contribute to the Government’s objective of achieving an equitable and accessible system of federal justice and the harmonisation of Australia’s laws and practices.
The ALRC has two programs to deliver this outcome:
Program 1.1 Conducting inquiries into aspects of Australian law and related processes for the purpose of law reform
It is through the inquiry process that the ALRC is able to provide to Government the research and analysis that underpins the recommendations for law reform and provides the basis for informed Government decisions to improve Australia’s legal frameworks. Through the inquiry process the ALRC fosters the participation of a broad cross section of stakeholders in the community in the process of law reform through consultation and submissions, and ensures that their views and concerns are considered in formulating recommendations to Government. Such community engagement is essential to ensure that proposed reforms are relevant and achievable and will be effective for their intended purpose.
Program 1.2 Community education about law reform
It is through educational activities that the ALRC can ensure the participation of a broad cross section of the community in the process of law reform and that the views and concerns of the wider community are considered in formulating the ALRC’s recommendations to government.
The ALRC’s primary stakeholders are the Australian Government and Parliament. Other core stakeholders—common to most inquiries—include the judiciary, the legal profession and academics. Each inquiry will have additional stakeholders, and may include other professionals and industry experts, peak associations and community groups.