Always revitalising and evolving
Laws must keep in pace with current values and needs of society, and be responsive to changes brought about by modern living and advances in technology. New technology, for example, gives rise to new forms of criminal activities such as cybercrime.
While courts assert a powerful influence on laws in a common law system, judges cannot adjudicate on legal issues not before them. Lawmakers thus need to proactively step in to make the necessary legislative updates.
SAL’s Law Reform Committee aids this process and looks into reform of discrete areas of law not confined to any particular field or doctrinal area. The breadth of reform initiatives since the Committee’s inception in 1989 has been significant, drawing on the input of a small but dedicated team of members, who come from the higher echelons of practice and academia.
The Law Reform Committee consults widely and recommends to the relevant law-making bodies areas of law that need reform. Our recommendations in the past have seen, among other things:
- the corporatisation of law partnerships through the Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2000;
- the introduction of more flexible transfers of proceedings between courts through the Subordinate Courts (Amendment) Act 2005;
- more accurate computations of inheritance through the Civil Law (Amendment) Act 2009;
- the rationalisation of legislation relating to the leave to appeal through the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Act 2010;
- the conferring of power on the court to order financial relief after foreign divorces, annulments of marriage or legal separation through the Women’s Charter (Amendment) Act 2011;
- legislative clarification that time limitation laws apply as part of the substantive law governing claims through the Foreign Limitation Periods Act 2012;
- the introduction of a right to judicial review of negative jurisdictional rulings made by arbitral tribunals through the International Arbitration (Amendment) Act 2012;
- legal reforms relating to the admissibility of computer output as evidence, opinion evidence and legal professional privilege through the Evidence (Amendment) Act 2012;
- clarification of the status of parties to artificial conception procedures through the Status of Children (Assisted Reproduction Technology) Act 2013;
- the criminalisation of stalking through the Protection from Harassment Act 2014; and
- reforms to the procedure for the enforcement of foreign judgments through the Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments (Repeal) Act 2019 and the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments (Amendment) Act 2019.
Call for Feedback on Law Reform
We invite feedback on deficiencies or errors in the law encountered in the course of your work. Do write to us with your thoughts and ideas.
Plain English for Latin Expressions
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