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1.The VLRC came into operation on the 6 th April 2001 2. The Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 gives this body its powers. 3. The VLRC is an independent.

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Presentation on theme: "1.The VLRC came into operation on the 6 th April 2001 2. The Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 gives this body its powers. 3. The VLRC is an independent."— Presentation transcript:

1 1.The VLRC came into operation on the 6 th April The Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 gives this body its powers. 3. The VLRC is an independent but government-funded organisation. The organisation’s independence is important as it may, at times, be required to review government activities and when it prepares a report may be critical of the way that government has managed its law reform agenda. 4. The VLRC was established to develop, monitor and coordinate law reform in Victoria. It provides independent advise to the Victorian Government on how to improve and update Victorian laws. It is necessary to research, investigate laws, as over time they become dated, inefficient or discriminatory.

2 5. Who does the body report to? To the State Attorney-General- who gave them the reference in the first place. The Attorney-General will then table the report (present the report) in parliament. 6. At the completion of its investigation, what does the VLRC provide to the government? At the end of its research the organisation produces a report containing its recommendations, to the state Attorney-General. 7. How important is its investigation to the government and what impact would its findings have to changes in the law? The VLRC performs a very important role for the government and its recommendations, either in whole or in part, may be incorporated into a bill. Its findings can lead to changes in an existing law. However, it only makes recommendations for change and does not actually change the law.

3 8. Who gives the VLRC its ‘terms of reference’ (the law it needs to investigate)? The VLRC investigates laws referred to it by the state Attorney-General, Robert Clark. The Hon. Robert Clark, MP Portfolio Attorney-General Other Roles Member for Box Hill Minister for Finance

4 9. Does the VLRC have the power to initiate areas of law to investigate? Yes. It does have the power to initiate an investigation into a law, relating to minor issues that have not been referred by the attorney-general, but by the general public instead. The VLRC itself can also suggest to the attorney- general that he or she refer a law in need of investigation to the VLRC

5 10.What is its role? a. Make law reform recommendations on matters referred to it by the Attorney-General b. Has power to make recommendations on minor changes in the law without receiving a reference from government that it or members of the community consider to be of general community concern. Their Community Law Reform program allow anyone to suggest ideas for law reform. c. Suggest to the Attorney-General a law reform project to the commission d. Educate the community on areas of law relevant to the commissions' work e.Monitor and coordinate law reform activity in Victoria Their recommendations aim to make the law fairer, more efficient and up-to-date.

6 Public Consultation: The VLRC relies heavily on community involvement. Works closely with the community to identify laws that need reform. It does this by consulting with people who may be affected by reforms, or have expertise in a particular area, and seek comment on proposals before making recommendations to the parliament. The VLRC aims to engage with people from traditionally marginalised groups, including indigenous people, regional or remote communities, immigrants, people with disabilities.

7 Law Reform Process The commission receives a reference or begins a community law reform project The commission's staff undertake initial research and consultation with experts in the area under review A consultation paper (issues o discussion paper) is published, which explains the key issues and asks the community questions. written submissions are invited from any interested groups and individuals, legal bodies in the public More consultations are undertaken; with interested or relevant individuals and groups-in the form of public forums or roundtable discussions. Ask experts to research areas requiring further information-findings are sometimes published as an occasional paper. A report is published with recommendations for changes to the law; either a final report or an interim report if further comment form the community is desired. The Attorney-General tables the report in parliament Parliament decides whether to implement the recommendations

8 Other inquiries carried out by the VLRC include: Sexual offences Jury directions Law on provocation Guardianship Property Serious bullying

9 A recent example of an investigation conducted by the VLRC is the decriminalisation of abortion: 1.The state attorney-general, in 2007 gave the VLRC its reference. The VLRC was asked to provide advice on the law in relation to abortions and the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) In total over 500 submissions were received from individuals and groups, including members of the community, and the commission held over 30 meetings.

10 Process used Received its reference from the AGReceived its terms of reference for the project in September 2007 the commission’s staff undertake initial research and consultation An information paper was published that explained the current law and identified issues in the inquiry. The commission received over 500submissions in response to the consultation paper. A consultation paper is published, which explains the key issues Consultations, roundtables, meetings and forums were held throughout the project 2007 Submissions are invited from any interested individuals or groups More consultations are undertakenFurther consultations were undertaken with members of the community, Expert opinion is soughtexperts, practitioners and health professionals (October 2007) A report is published with recommendations for changes to the law and given to AG to table in parliament. A final report containing 16 recommendations for change was tabled in parliament by the AG in March 2008 AG tables the report in parliament Parliament decides whether to implement the recommendations

11 In relation to decriminalising abortion what research did the VLRC conduct? Conducted national surveys and market research to ascertain community attitudes on abortion. wrote and produced publications-in they published an information paper outlining the key issues. The purpose of the paper was to explain the law in Victoria and in other Australian states and territories, held consultations and roundtables. Received more that 500 submissions from individuals, groups and organisations in response to the information paper. Drawing on the view expressed in these submissions in response to the information paper. Drawing on the views expressed in these submission, the commission held a series of consultations and forums. Held more that 30 groups, individuals and health professionals; meetings with interested parties-some of these parties were on to make submissions eg faith groups, public and private abortion providers, academics, health service providers, women’s organisations and peak medical bodies. Used a panel of medical experts to assist the VLRC

12 Summary of the process used: Reference: receives its reference from the AG Reviews: brings it up to date, eliminates defects, considers ways of simplifying or improving law and its administration Reviews uniformity of law with States and Commonwealth Investigates: effect of proposal on community Consultation- VLRC issues Option papers, including summary of views of law, case for law reform, options or models of legislation, invites public submissions, conducts interviews. Formulates-report and submits it to Attorney-General, including recommendations for change


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