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​NSW Law Reform Commission - Still fab at 50

Publications date: Monday, 25 September 2017

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Attorney General Mark Speakman has thanked the NSW Law Reform Commission for its monumental role in helping the government improve the state’s justice system over the past 50 years.

The LRC, which provides independent legal policy advice to the government, will tonight celebrate its Golden Jubilee at a ceremony at NSW Parliament House.

“This landmark occasion will recognise the LRC’s contributions to making laws simple, modern, effective and in line with community needs and expectations,” Mr Speakman said.

NSW was the first state or territory in Australia to establish a Law Reform Commission. Since 1967, it has issued 164 papers for consultation and delivered 143 reports.

Mr Speakman said, “Archaic laws on witches and pirates were included in some of the early references to the newly formed Law Reform Commission. In 1967 the Commission recommended the repeal of part of a 1735 Act which outlawed the pretence of witchcraft and fortune telling. The Commission also considered anti-piracy Acts from as early as 1536.

“The NSW Government’s recently announced package of tough, smart and safe criminal justice reforms drew from LRC reports on encouraging early guilty pleas and reforming sentencing and parole.

“There have also been significant reforms to third party claims on insurance proceeds in NSW, following an LRC report last year,” Mr Speakman said.

The Law Reform Commission analyses legal issues referred to it by the Attorney General. It conducts intensive research, consults stakeholders and welcomes comments from the community before putting forward options for change.

The LRC is currently reviewing the Guardianship Act 1987, laws relating to beneficiaries of trusts, and statutory provisions on dispute resolution.

Tonight’s ceremony will include addresses from the President of the Court of Appeal and Acting Chief Justice the Hon Margaret Beazley AO, Supreme Court judge and Deputy LRC Chair, the Hon Justice Paul Brereton AM RFD and LRC Chair, Alan Cameron AO, as well as Mr Speakman.