Part A. 1. Conditions that give rise to law reform
Changing social values: The values of societies change over time. Society is forever changing values which then place’s pressure onto the law to change and adapt over time. What is seen as as acceptable may not be considered acceptable at another time. The urge for tougher sentencing in law reform may satisfy the deserved aspects of punishment, but harsher penalties are not statistically shown to reduce crime rates. Thus in seeking to promote social values for tougher penalties it undermines our social value for fairness and the concept of justice for the individual.
New concepts of justice: As the social values change, so does our views of the concept of justice. Sentencing laws are continually subject to law reform scrutiny. Areas where sentences are currently underview in NSW relate to corporate offences and Indigenous offenders. At the Federal level the use of periodic detention as a form of punishment has been questioned because of the difficulties in administering it.
New Technology: New and advanced technology create the need for law reform. Once technology is in advance of the law then it makes pressure on the law to reform. Example’s of this; The new mobile phone technology which allows for the taking of pictures which can be transmitted by SMS, lead to reform to privacy laws. As new technology is introduced it has allowed DNA testing, this assists in solving crimes, the use of such technologies can lead to criminal law reform.
Part B. 2. Agencies of reform
NSW Law Reform
Outline the roles of courts and parliaments in law reform and describe their limitations; Outline the role of the NSW Law Reform Commission;
Identify and outline the features of the NSW law Reform Commission; Identify FOUR current projects the the NSW Law Reform Commission is working on; Identify and describe the other organisations which are also ‘catalysts of change’ in NSW;
The courts occupy in the development of the law. They do this by adapting to changing circumstances and reconsidering established doctrines. Although courts can only do this over a period of time, as their main function is the adjudication of individual disputes. It is now widely accepted that law reform is a legitimate function of courts. The court is not a legislature or a law reform agency, its responsible to decide cases by applying the law to evidence found. The courts facilities, techniques and procedures are made for that responsibility not legislative function or law reform activities. The court cannot carry out investigations with a view to find something out whether particular common law rules are working well or they are adjusted to the needs of the community and popular assent. The court also cannot call for examine, submissions from groups and individuals whom are interested in the making if changes to the law. The court cannot and doesn’t involve in the inquiries and assessments made by governments and law reform agencies.
Parliament is responsible for most law reform. Parliament does this by passage of legislation, the reforms initiated within it have diminished over the years. Members of parliament have a huge range of commitments, the amount of specialised up to date knowledge required to imitate reforms is not available or is not able to be obtained within the limited time available. Australia had no tradition of significant reforms being introduced by private members bills. A system of parliamentary committees performing investigative and law reform functions although adopted, has had not much success in Australia. Some exceptions although include, The Commonwealth, Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs and the Victorian Parliamentary Legal and Constitutional committee.
Officers within government departments have the main task of implementing government policy and seeing to the manifold business of public...
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