Law Reform in the 21st Century – Some Challenges for the Future

Professor Marcia Neave, 11 October 2001

  • The 1960–1970s – a time of optimism
  • The 1980s–1990s – abolition and restructuring of law reform commissions
  • The ideology of “smaller government”
  • The increasing influence of managerialism
  • Increased emphasis on numerical measures of efficiency and accountability
  • Dispersal of law reform techniques
  • Where to from here?
    • Accountability
    • Building deliberative democracy
    • Independence
    • Globalisation and internationalisation of law


In 1597 Sir Francis Bacon proposed the establishment of a body of commissioners to investigate laws and report to parliament. (1) Contrast this with the views expressed by a back bencher in the Canadian Parliament in 1996 (2), who suggested that law reform commissions were useless and that their establishment was a waste of public money. Over the past 30 years many common law countries have lurched between these two positions.

During the 1990s, survival was the major challenge for institutional law reform bodies. In 1992 the Law Reform Commission of Canada was abolished. The Ontario (3) and British Columbia (4) Commissions were closed down in 1996 and 1997 respectively. In Australia too, Law Reform Commissions were threatened with “right-sizing” or abolition. (5) Between 1988 and 1991 the New South Wales Law Reform Commission had no full-time commissioners and its budget was substantially cut. In 1992 the Law Reform Commission of Victoria was abolished (6) and responsibility for law reform was distributed between the Department of Justice, the Parliamentary Law Reform Committee and a committee chaired by the Chief Justice. The Australian Law Reform Commission was reviewed by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which reported in 1994.

Today the value of institutional law reform is again being recognised. A new Law Commission was re-established in Canada in 1996 (7) and some provincial Commissions have been resurrected in different guises. The New Zealand Commission, which was thought to be under threat, has survived a rigorous review. There has been a new Victorian Law Reform Commission in Victoria since April this year. (8)

Why has support for institutional law reform waxed and waned over the past 30 years? Some of these changes reflect the vagaries of party politics in particular jurisdictions. However, there are more fundamental reasons for the rise, fall and rise of institutional law reform. The history of law reform in Australia and elsewhere reflects changes in the relationship between government, the bureaucracy and civil society. Law reform commissions must learn from history if they are to withstand the challenges of the 21st century.

My talk is divided into three parts. In the first part I discuss the factors that led to support for institutional law reform in the 1960s and 1970s. The second part of the talk discusses the government and public sector changes which contributed to the abolition or restructuring of Law Reform Commissions in the 1990s. In the third part I discuss how law reform institutions will need to refashion themselves to anticipate, and respond to changes in the nature of government and civil society.

The 1960–1970s – a time of optimism

Although the modern age of institutional law reform began in the 1960s, many of the important law reforms made in 19th century England were based on the work of specialist commissioners appointed to review particular areas of law. (9) The great utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham supported the creation of expert bodies to reform and codify the law. This “Benthamite spirit” (10) was also manifested in 19th century Australia, where the first law reform commission was created in New South Wales in 1870 and efforts were made to review and codify Victorian law in the 1870s and 1880s. However in the early years of the 20th century support for permanent law reform bodies declined. Until the late 1950s ad hoc professional committees made some contributions to reform of black letter laws, but otherwise Australia tended to rely on English legislation as the basis for legal changes. (11)

In England, Gerald Gardiner proposed the creation of a standing law reform body in his 1963 book Law Reform Now. In 1968 the first Bill which he introduced after his appointment as Lord Chancellor created the English and Scottish Law Commissions. Canada and Australia were also enthusiastic about institutional law reform during this period. In 1971 the Canadian Law Reform Commission was established and by 1973 most of the 10 provinces had a standing law reform body (12). In Australia, New South Wales set up a Law Reform Commission in 1968 (13) and by the mid 1970s most other states had a law reform commission. (14) Victoria created the office of Law Reform Commissioner in 1973. The Commissioner was assisted by an Advisory Council until the creation of a Law Reform Commission in 1984. The Australian Law Reform Commission was constituted in 1975.

Why was there such strong support for institutional law reform in the 1960s and 1970s? During the 1960s and early 1970s governments were optimistic about their capacity to bring about social change. This was a period of “big government” and public sector expansion. Law played a more prominent role in political and public discourse than is now the case, when governments place greater emphasis on the role of the market and media debate is dominated by the “dismal science” of economics. In the 1960s and 1970s the Attorney-General’s portfolio was considerably more powerful, particularly in the sphere of federal politics.

An upsurge in the volume of legislation, the declining importance of the common law as a source of legal change, and increasing recognition of the need to update and modernise the law provided the impetus for the creation of independent law reform agencies. When Bills were introduced to establish standing law reform bodies, Minister’s second reading speeches emphasised the need to simplify and codify the law and to devise new laws to deal with emerging issues. The English Law Commission, was set up to keep under review “all the law” with a view to its systematic improvement and reform” (15). Similarly, the Law Reform Commission Act 1973, which established the Australian Law Reform Commission, referred to the modernisation and simplification of law, the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary laws and the promotion of uniformity in a federal system.

Attorney-General Kep Enderby’s second reading speech on the introduction of the Bill establishing the Australian Law Reform Commission alluded to Government’s responsibility to ensure that the law was suitable to the needs of the time and reflected “current values and philosophies.” (16) Similarly, in 1983 Justice Michael Kirby singled out “changing social values, and ethical perceptions”, (17) including the rise of the women’s movement and recognition of the injustices experienced by Aboriginal people as an important justification for institutional law reform. To these trends he added the impact on society of science and technology and their implications for the modern administration of justice. (18) It was accepted that the public service lacked the capacity to regularly review and update the law, because of its responsibility to advise government on day to day legal problems.

The establishment of law reform commissions may also have been part of a broader response to the increasing power of the executive. The Commonwealth Government was a world leader in establishing independent bodies to provide checks on the power of the bureaucracy. The creation of agencies like the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Ombudsman reflected a Zeitgeist which was also favourable to the setting up of independent law reform commissions. Both the new administrative law reforms and the creation of law reform commissions reflected a belief in the importance of law as a means of regulating social and technological change and of independent public sector institutions as protectors of individual rights and advisers of government.

No less a person than Sir Clarrie Harders, then Secretary of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, emphasised that law reform commissions should express their own views and not “endeavour to prejudge what a Minister or Parliament would accept”. He believed that a body such as the Australian Law Reform Commission was “much better equipped than a department of State to hear and consider representations from the public.” (19) Similarly, the review of the Australian Law Reform Commission, undertaken by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, commented that the independent status of the Australian Law Reform Commission “enhanced the integrity of the advice provided” and allowed the Commission to provide genuine policy alternatives, which were less likely to emerge from the bureaucracy. Because it was not distracted by routine policy development it could “bring a medium to long term perspective to issues”. (20)

The creation of standing law reform bodies was that the whole idea of law reform was reconceptualised. Two main trends are apparent during the 1970s and 1980s. First, there was a shift in the kinds of references which Commissions received. In 1980 Justice Kirby commented that “the original concept of law reform commissions involved the avoidance of matters of high policy”. (21) The early work of state law reform bodies focused on repeal of antiquated laws and reform of areas of “black letter” law, which were unlikely to excite the interest of politicians or arouse community concerns. Their early Reports were typified by dense legal analysis and were usually pitched at a legal audience. They also reflected the social values and attitudes of male judges of their time and class. The early focus on technical law reform in the case of references and on the appointment of retired judges and senior academics as commissioners may be one reason why politicians on both sides of parliament rarely attacked law reformers. The second annual report of the ALRC expressed “satisfaction that the Commission’s program reflects bi-partisan concerns for law reform in Australia. (22)

By the end of the 1970s however, Commissions were beginning to receive references on topics attracting broader social concern and controversy. These required much broader involvement of and consultation with, the community. In the early 1980s the New South Wales Law Reform Commission published reports on reform of the legal profession, de facto relationships law, accident compensation law and artificial insemination. While Justice Michael Kirby was Chairman, the ALRC completed reports on complaints against police; police powers; alcohol, drugs and driving; human tissue transplants; and privacy and Aboriginal customary law as well as on the more technical topics of insolvency and bankruptcy and insurance contracts and agents. (23)

Secondly, changes in the nature of references necessitated new law reform methodologies. By the 1980s it became well-established practice to distribute an Issues or Discussion Paper and use it as the focus for community consultation. The Canadian Law Reform Commission pioneered the use of social surveys to gather the views of the community. The Australian Law Reform Commission reported in 1976 that it had organised “public sittings” to receive submissions on references dealing with complaints against police and criminal investigation. In the early 1980s the New South Wales Commission initiated an informal consultation process to obtain the views of couples living together without marrying, as part of the research for its de facto relationships reference.

Commissions also began to undertake more inter-disciplinary and empirical research. For its accident compensation reference New South Wales researchers visited accident victims at home and in community residential settings and collected case studies of their experiences. For its matrimonial property reference the ALRC commissioned a number of studies on the effects of property distribution after divorce.

Attorneys-General began to appoint social scientists as well as lawyers to Commissions. The first members of the Australian Law Reform Commission included a criminologist, Dr Gordon Hawkins (24) and a social scientist, Associate Professor Bettina Cass was appointed as a part-time Commissioner of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission in the early 1980s.

Changes in the nature of references also made Commissions more aware of the importance of lobby groups and of the need to explain themselves more clearly to the media and the community. Justice Michael Kirby mastered the art of the media grab. The New South Wales Law Reform Commission organised a large press conference to announce the publication of its Discussion Paper on no-fault accident compensation. Large numbers of the media, including the ethnic press attended, although unfortunately the Commission’s press coverage was limited because the launch was gazumped by the outbreak of the Falklands War. Commentators on law reform began to realise that changes could be brought about through the processes of law reform, as much as through the traditional process of preparing a report.

The 1980s–1990s – abolition and restructuring of law reform commissions

Support for institutional law reform reached its zenith in the 1970s and early 1980s. By the end of the 1980s government support for such bodies had begun to decline. Why did this change in attitude occur and what can we learn from it? To answer this question we need to look at the social and political context in which law reform commissions were abolished or reduced in size. What ideas were “washing around” in the 1990s which resulted in some governments seeing institutional law reform as an expensive luxury?

My thesis is that the following factors contributed to the abolition and downsizing of law reform commissions:

• the ideology of “small government”

• the increasing influence of managerialism

• emphasis on efficiency and numerical accountability measures

• the diffusion of law reform methodology throughout the public sector

I will make some brief remarks about each of these trends and their effect on government’s attitudes to institutional law reform.

The ideology of “smaller government”

First, and most obviously, the 1990s were a period when the public sector was contracting. In his 1983 essay on law reform, Justice Michael Kirby commented that “there will be no going back to the days of small government”. (25) By the 1990s this prediction had proved false. From the 1980s, governments in England, Canada and Australia were attempting to reduce public expenditure. Loss of faith in the welfare state and perceptions of fiscal crisis resulted in governments placing greater emphasis on “getting value for money.” The size of the bureaucracy was reduced. Tasks previously performed by government were contracted out and privatised. Political ideology shifted from an emphasis on addressing the problems caused by market failure to an emphasis on preventing problems caused by government failure. (26)

It became received wisdom that the role of bureaucracy was to set policy, rather than to implement it. The existence of independent law reform commissions could have been seen as consistent with government’s policy making role. However, when the staff of mainstream government departments are being made redundant and government expenditure on health and education is being cut, institutional law reform is an attractive target. In such a climate it can be presented as an “expensive experiment” that has “failed to deliver the goods”. (27)

This prompts the question what is an appropriate level of expenditure for law reform? Law reform commissions are pretty cheap. In 1996, the last year of its existence, the former Law Reform Commission of Canada had a budget of $5 million. (28) The former Law Reform Commission of Victoria’s proposed budget for 1992–3 was $1.89 million. (29) The Australian Law Reform Commission’s budget for the year 2000 was around $3 million. To assess whether law reform commissions are a waste of public money it would be necessary to look at what is produced as a result of this expenditure and at the cost of alternative approaches to law reform.

In jurisdictions that lack a law reform commission, responsibility for law reform is typically diffused among policy divisions in government departments, parliamentary committees and bodies run by the legal profession. While it may be possible to work out how much government departments spend on consultants and on policy officer’s salaries, the infrastructure costs associated with policy work done within a department may not be apparent. The same problems arise in comparing the costs of law reform work undertaken by parliamentary law reform committees. By contrast, the voluntary law reform work done by members of the judiciary or the legal profession costs the government little or nothing.

However, there are invisible costs of diffusing and distributing responsibility for law reform. Law reform commissions can play a significant role in building the capacity of individuals and community organisations to make meaningful contributions to the law reform process. It is more difficult for policy divisions in government departments, committees of lawyers and individuals undertaking specific projects to establish stable consultation networks. Business and professional lobby groups and larger non-government organisations are usually able to express views to government on issues which will affect them. This capacity does not exist in many areas of the community. As well as giving members of the community a voice in shaping law this can enhance understanding of law and create readiness for change. Because law reform commissions are not part of the bureaucracy it is easier for them than for policy sections of government departments to contribute to the building of public trust.

Diffusing responsibility for law reform also makes it more difficult to undertake the kind of empirical research which is necessary for informed policy making. Building a multi-disciplinary research team is a difficult process. Social science research requires time, a luxury which is often unavailable to government departments under pressure from their ministers to produce “quick fixes”. Reform of obsolete laws may significantly reduce transaction costs for individuals and businesses, but is unlikely to be given high priority by busy government lawyers. The hidden costs of diffusing responsibility for law reform need to be taken into account in making an informed decision about the comparative costs and benefits of institutional law reform and its alternatives.

The increasing influence of managerialism

The “new managerialism” seeks to apply the techniques of private business to the public sector. Managerialist approaches focus on results or “outputs” rather than on processes. Values such as efficiency and cost-effectiveness are given higher priority than consistency or equity. (30) My thesis is that during the 1990s the new managerialism contributed to government and bureaucratic scepticism about the value of institutional law reform.

The new managerialism has resulted in centralisation of power in Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet or Premier and Cabinet and in Treasury, an increase in the authority conferred on chief executives of government departments and a greater readiness of senior bureaucrats “to identify with their Minister’s political objectives than might previously have been the case”. (31) Professor Spencer Zifcak argues that this has resulted in senior public sector officials questioning the legitimacy of independent review bodies, such as the Ombudsman or independent tribunals. (32) Law reform commissions are less likely than independent complaints and review bodies to irritate governments and senior officials who are attempting to implement the wishes of their ministers. However, attacks on the legitimacy of independent agencies may contribute to a climate in which law reform commissions are seen by politicians and public sector officials as expensive nuisances. It is difficult to put a spin on the findings of a law reform commission, or a “lid” on policy recommendations which have the potential for political embarrassment. The federal attorney-general’s reaction to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s submission on native title to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee is an example of the heightened political sensitivity associated with the new managerialism. The appropriateness of the ALRC making a submission was questioned, even though it had done so many times before.

Another feature of the “new managerialism” is the rise of the generic manager and the devaluation of subject-specific expertise. Painter has commented that under the new managerialist approach “technical and professional specialist take second place to the new ‘managers’, as does the mandarin generalist”. (33) While I strongly support tertiary training in management, there is a danger that “management” skills will be seen as the answer to all human problems. Managerialism places a higher value on economic, management and financial skills than on the skills of consultation, debate and professional judgment which lawyers and social scientists appointed as law reform commissioners are called upon to exercise.

Increased emphasis on numerical measures of efficiency and accountability

Another feature of the new managerialism is its emphasis on numerical and mathematical measures of accountability. The most recent technique used to ensure accountability is output performance measurement. This has taken the place of earlier techniques such as performance budgeting, program budgeting and management by objectives which have been advocated by management specialists in earlier times. (34)

My argument here is not that accountability is undesirable. Obviously law reform commissions have to accountable for the expenditure of public money. Rather the problem lies in the particular accountability measures favoured by the new managerialist approach in Treasury and Finance Departments. Such measures commonly privilege quantitativeperformance measures over qualitative ones. (“If you can’t count it, it doesn’t count.”) Zifcak comments that “Increasingly the professional judgement so characteristic of earlier administrative eras is being displaced by enumerative assessment”.(35) In universities, for example, a Shakespearian sonnet may now count less than an obscure article in a refereed scientific journal. Focus on numerical outputs can result in loss of sight of other values traditionally associated with policy making such as accessibility, community participation and intellectual rigour. (36)

I have argued that the new managerialism undervalues professional expertise and judgment by comparison to management expertise. Emphasis on numerical performance measures exacerbates this trend. Policy views based on the expertise of lawyers, social scientists or just plain human judgment are often seen as less credible than those based on the numerical and economic indicators which make up “the bottom line.” Yet it is these professional judgment calls on which the recommendations of law reform commissions are primarily based.

Dispersal of law reform techniques

The final reason why support for law reform commissions waned during the 1990s may have been that they were victims of their own success. On the one hand support for law reform bodies with generalist experience are now in competition with specialist bodies which undertake law reform in particular areas, for example: the Copyright Law Review Committee (CLRC) (37); the Australian National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (NADRAC) (38); the Australian Information Economy Advisory Council (AIEAC) (39); the Victorian Data Protection Advisory Council (DPAC) (40); the Victorian Drug Policy Expert Committee (DPEC). (41)

On the other hand techniques pioneered by law reform commissions have been diffused and “mainstreamed” throughout the public sector. During the 1980s and 1990s it became much more common for government departments to publish discussion papers and to undertake some forms of community consultation. At the political level politicians increasingly rely on opinion polls to give them insights into the views of the public. It may be argued that law reform commissions are no longer necessary because of these developments.

The counter argument is that the diffusion of law reform techniques throughout the bureaucracy supports collaboration and information between the various bodies which have an involvement in policy making rather than abolition of law reform commissions. It is also important to recognise that the idea of consultation is sometimes misused for political purposes. In my view law reform commissions are often better equipped than government departments to undertake the networking and community capacity building necessary to build public trust and to create a climate for constructive change.

Where to from here?

So far I have suggested that the abolition and down-sizing of law reform commissions in the 1990s reflects changes in government and bureaucratic

institutions which occurred during the 1990s. How can law reform commissions convince governments and public sector managers that they

have an important role to play in the 21st century? Supporters of institutional law reform need to address four important issues. These are:

• the challenge of accountability,

• the role which institutional law reform can play in the building of a more deliberative democracy,

• the preservation of law reform commissions as a source of independent advice to government.

• the challenge presented by the globalisation and internationalisation of law.


First let me deal with accountability. Law reform commissions cannot and should not be sheltered from the demand to show that they do good work at reasonable cost. However, we also need to question the application of measurable, numerical performance indicators to the law reform process. For many years commissions have struggled to come up with more meaningful measures of performance than numbers of publications, and the percentage of recommendations which have resulted in legislative change. We need to devise more sophisticated and complex performance indicators which take account of matters such as the commission’s contribution to original thought, its Australian and international reputation for intellectual rigour, whether references are completed within a reasonable time, whether publications are understandable to the audiences which they address and the extent to which commissions have been successful in building community participation in law reform debates and promoting public trust. It is encouraging that the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs moved beyond simple numerical performance measures in its favourable review of the Australian Law Reform Commission. In the 21st century commissions will have to come up with new ways of demonstrating their accountability and effectiveness.

Building deliberative democracy

The second, and related challenge, is to persuade politicians and the bureaucracy of the contribution which institutional law reform can play in the building of deliberative democracy. (42) Deliberative democracy is defined by Professor Spencer Zifcak as “that quality of continuing dialogue and debate between government and its constituents about economic, social and governmental purposes which forms the heart of the democratic project”. (43) A number of commentators have argued that the increasing power of the executive in Westminster-style governments has resulted in a “democratic deficit”. This deficit is manifested in a reduction in opportunities for citizens to debate with government about economic and social policy issues, or to influence the directions of change. This has contributed to wide ranging community distrust and cynicism, a feeling ofdisengagement from the political process, which at the extremes is manifested in support for parties such a One Nation.

Philosopher Philip Pettit argues that dialogue between government and members of the civil society is an essential component of deliberative democracy. (44) I believe that governments are beginning to realise the costs of exclusive focus on fiscal management issues and to understand the need to involve communities in dialogue about economic and social decisions. During the 21st century Australia will have to deal with issues such as environmental degradation, the social and economic consequences of globalisation, a rising tide of refugees, the unequal distribution of work and income and the profound ethical dilemmas arising from the exponential growth in biotechnology. Law reform commissions in the 21st century should play a significant role in promoting social dialogue about how to respond to these problems.


A third and related challenge is to convince the community and the government of the continuing value of independent agencies. Law reform commissions will only be effective in enhancing deliberative democracy if they are and are seen to be separate from government and if their advice is insulated from the political process. Law reform commissions should contribute to public discussion about the structural arrangements necessary to ensure independence. In Victoria, for example, there are 11 independent bodies associated with the Department of Justice and these agencies are set up in at least six different ways. It will be a continuing project for commissions to convince bureaucrats and politicians that the short-term frustrations which may be caused by such bodies are justified by their long-term benefits.

Globalisation and internationalisation of law

Finally, law reform bodies will need to re-fashion themselves to respond to the changing nature of law. International instruments will increasingly influence the content of domestic law in the years to come. This trend could make state and even federal law reform bodies increasingly irrelevant. Perhaps we now need international law reform bodies which can work more quickly than existing institutions. We need to think about how law reform institutions and methodologies should be reshaped in light of these developments.

To conclude, I want to refer the words chosen to describe the new Victorian Law Reform Commission. The first is innovation. We need to respond innovatively to the challenges I have described above. The second is inclusion. The Commission is committed to contributing to continuing dialogue and debate between government and its constituents about law and social policy. This debate forms the heart of the democratic project. The third word is independence. Only if law reform commissions are seen to be independent of government will they be able to contribute to the building of a just and inclusive society.


  1. Law Reform Commission, Annual Report (1975) 5.

2. Hansard Debates, 27 March 1996, Law Commission of Canada Act, Mrs Pierette Venne.

3. The Ontario Law Reform Commission was the first law reform body to be set up in Canada. It was established in 1964 but abolished in 1996.

4. The British Columbia Law Reform Commission was set up in 1969 and began operations in 1970. It ceased operation in March 1997 following a decision by the provincial Attorney-General to withdraw funding.

5. Minutes and record of Proceedings Sixteenth Australasian Law Reform Agencies Conference, Hobart, 24 and 25 September, 13.

6. Law Reform Commission Repeal Act 1992 (Vic).

7. Law Commission of Canada Act 1996. Some provincial bodies have been re-established, albeit in a different guise The British Columbia Law Institute was created as the successor of the British Columbia Law Reform Commission by incorporation under the provincial Society Act. The Manitoba Law Reform Commission was set up in 1970. In 1987, the government decided to terminate the appointments of the members and replace them with senior civil servants; however, the decision was reversed in 1988 with a change of government. The LRC was subsequently given legislative footing, in 1990 under the Law Reform Commission Act, and continues operations today.

8. Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000.

  1. Law Reform Commission, Annual Report (1975) 5.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid, 10.

13. The Commission was initially established by executive decision, which was replaced by Law Reform Commission Act 1967.

14. The Queensland Commission was established by the Law Reform Commission Act 1968 (Qld); the Western Australian Commission by the Law Reform Commission Act 1972(WA); the Tasmanian Commission was established by the Law Reform Commission Act 1974 (Tas).

  1. Law Commissions Act 1965 (UK) s 3(1).

16.Commonwealth Hansard, House of Representatives, 11 December 1973.

  1. M Kirby, Reform the Law (1983) 34.
  2. Ibid 35.
  3. Quoted in Politics of Law Reform (1982) 77.

20. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Law Reform The Challenge Continues (May 1994) 60.

  1. A E Tay and E Kamenka (eds) Law-making in Australia(1980) 53.

22. The Law Reform Commission, Annual Report 1976, 45.

23 Australian Law Reform Commission, 25 years of law reform – a brief history of the ALRC,

24. The Law Reform Commission, Annual Report 1975.

  1. M Kirby, Reform the Law (1983), 32.

26. The Hon JJ Spigelman AC Chief Justice of New South Wales “Judicial Accountability and Performance Indicators”, Paper delivered at 1701 Conference: The 300th Anniversary of the Act of Settlement, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 10 May 2001.

27. It was so described in the second reading speech of the Attorney-General of Victoria, Mrs J Wade on the Law Reform Commission Repeal Bill 1992, Victorian Hansard Assembly, 6 November 1992, 550.

28. Hansard Debates, 27 March 1996, Law Commission of Canada Act, Mrs Pierette Venne. Mrs Venne described this expenditure as “astronomical”.

29. Law Reform Commission of Victoria, Annual Report 1991–2, 27.

  1. E Handsley “Reshaping the Judiciary” (2001) 18 Law in Context 62, 71.

31. S Zifcak “From Administrative Reform to Democratic Reformation: Accountability in a Post-Managerial Era”, Seminario Internacional A Reforma Gerencia do Estado, Brasilia 17–18 November 1998.

32. S Zifcak “From Administrative Reform to Democratic Reformation: Accountability in a Post-Managerial Era”, Seminario Internacional A Reforma Gerencia do Estado, Brasilia 17–18 November 1998.

33. M Painter, “Editorial–Public Management: Fad or fallacy“, XLVII Australian Journal of Public Administration 1.

34. The Hon JJ Spigelman AC Chief Justice of New South Wales, “Judicial Accountability and Performance Indicators”, Paper delivered at 1701 Conference: The 300th Anniversary of the Act of Settlement Vancouver, BC, Canada, 10 May 2001.

  1. Ibid.

36. The Hon JJ Spigelman AC Chief Justice of New South Wales “Judicial Accountability and Performance Indicators”, Paper delivered at 1701 Conference: The 300th Anniversary of the Act of Settlement Vancouver, BC, Canada, 10 May 2001.

37. CLRC was established in 1983 by the Commonwealth Attorney-General as a specialist advisory body to report to the Australian Government on specific copyright law issues referred to it from time to time.

38. NADRAC was established in October 1995 as an independent advisory council which advises the Commonwealth Attorney-General on matters concerning alternative dispute resolution.

39. AIEAC was established in October 1998 as an advisory body to the Commonwealth Government where the industry and community could have input on information industry and information economy issues.

40. DPAC completed its work in 1996, having been appointed to report to the Minister for Multimedia on the most appropriate data protection regime for Victoria. Dr Pennington also chaired the previous Victorian Premier’s Drug Advisory Council (PDAC), established in 1995 to report on possible responses Victoria could adopt to tackle the problem of illicit drug use.

41. DPEC, chaired by Dr David Pennington, was appointed in November 1999 to report to the Government on a local drug strategy, implementation of a trial of safe injecting facilities and other components of the Government’s drug policy.

42. For more detailed discussion see S Zifcak “From Administrative Reform to Democratic Reformation: Accountability in a Post-Managerial Era”, Seminario Internacional A Reforma Gerencia do Estado, Brasilia 17–

18 November 1998.

  1. Ibid.
  2. Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government (1997).


Date published: 
11 Oct 2001

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