The Commission welcomes law reform proposals from community organisations and members of the public. Our aim is to improve community involvement in law reform by opening up access to people and communities who are not usually involved in the law but may have good ideas about how the law could be improved.
In determining which projects to take on, the Commission is bound by the provisions of the Law Reform Commission Act 2000.
Section 5(1)(b) of that legislation sets out the functions of the Commission. In regards to community law reform, the Commission may:
make recommendations on minor legal issues of general community concern (if the Commission is satisfied that the examination of that matter will not require a significant deployment of resources).
The key principle is that community law reform projects address legal issues that are of general community concern, but are small enough to have a relatively straightforward solution. In addition, community law reform projects must not require significant resources.
The Commission cannot take on every law reform idea that is suggested to us. Generally we can only work on one project at a time.
Some projects will lead to recommendations to government; others may take the form of publishing a discussion or research paper.
In order to assist you to make a law reform proposal, the Commission has agreed the following selection criteria. It is against these criteria that the Commission decides which projects it is able to work on. If your law reform idea does not fit within our criteria, or if we do not have the current resources to undertake the project, we will inform you of other organisations and bodies that may have an interest in the issue.
In deciding whether to undertake a community law reform project the Commission considers the following:
- The area in which the law applies: The Commission can only make recommendations about state laws. For more information on what is covered by state law and what is covered by federal law, visit the websites of the Victorian government and the Australian Government.
- The scope of the community law reform project: This includes the complexity of the legal issues raised, the amount of research required, and the amount of legal change that may be needed. The Commission can only take on community law reform projects that deal with relatively small changes to the law.
- The amount of community consultation that will be needed to fully consider the issue: Complex and controversial subjects or areas of law that do not have strong community consensus will generally not fit within community law reform projects. These types of issues require significant consultation and public debate to resolve. This is better suited to a government initiated reference or inquiry.
- The law reform proposal’s likely public benefit: The Commission is interested in projects that will fix problems with the law that affect a significant proportion of the population or address problems faced by significantly disadvantaged members of the community.
- Community involvement: If you are a community group putting forward a law reform idea, the Commission would like to know how you have consulted with people to check your proposal meets their needs. We would also like to know how you will keep people informed and involved if the law reform idea is accepted as a community law reform project by the Commission.
- The prospects of success for the reform proposal: Community law reform projects must provide a simple, effective solution to an anomaly, inequity or gap in the law.
- The resources and time needed to undertake the community law reform project: The legislation governing the Commission requires that community law reform projects must not require significant resources. The Commission prefers community law reform projects that can be completed within 12 months, using existing resources.
- Avoiding duplication: If the law has recently been considered by Parliament or is currently being reviewed, or likely to be reviewed by government, the Commission will not undertake the project. If your law reform idea better suits consideration by another law reform organisation, we will inform you of who to approach.
Tell us your law reform idea
Please tell us your idea by completing the online suggestion form.
Mail: PO Box 4637, GPO Melbourne Vic 3001
Fax: (03) 8608 7888
If you would like to discuss your idea before making an application please call us on (03) 8608 7800 and ask for the community law reform manager.