Collaborative Conversations in Law Reform
The South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) is an independent law reform body based at the University of Adelaide Law School. In its 13 years of operation, despite its small size, SALRI has had considerable output and impact with many of its reports in diverse areas accepted by the State Government and South Australian Parliament. The linked Law Reform class plays a valuable role to support SALRI’s work.
Law reform does not occur in a vacuum. In undertaking a reference, SALRI draws on its wide research and engagement, notably with regional and Aboriginal communities. Another focus of SALRI is looking at the operation of similar laws elsewhere in Australia and overseas and drawing on the valuable work of other law reform bodies.
SALRI, especially since the disruption of COVID, has taken an active role to promote enhanced links and cooperation between Commonwealth law reform bodies. There are many common issues, themes and challenges in modern law reform and ample scope for fruitful cooperation.
Following is a brief summary of SALRI’s latest engagement with law reform colleagues, both in Australia and overseas:
Law Commission of England and Wales
In September 2022, SALRI’s Deputy Director, Associate Professor David Plater, and SALRI researcher, Olga Pandos, were made very welcome by Sir Nicholas Green, Chair of the Law Commission of England and Wales along with the other Commissioners and staff. The visit discussed topical law reform themes of common interest, various projects, the importance of honest and respectful engagement with Aboriginal communities and the unique role and value of the Law Reform class.
Dr Plater and Ms Pandos (online) paid a return visit to the Law Commission in June 2023 with recent or current Adelaide law reform students, Anh Caprile, Emily Conroy, Michaela Puntillo and Rachel Tan. SALRI was again made very welcome. Law Commission staff also conducted two fascinating guest classes for the Law Reform elective class in 2023 on the recent work of the Commission. SALRI thanks the Law Commission and Yasmin Ilhan, in particular, for their support.
ALRC, VLRC, QLRC and TLRI
On 15 November 2023, Professor John Williams, SALRI Director (online), and Dr Plater (in person) met Justice Bromberg, the Chair of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) and the Hon Tony North, Chair of the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) and the VLRC’s staff on a visit to Melbourne.
On 29 November 2023, Dr Plater and Jemma Holt, SALRI researcher, met the staff of the ALRC as well as the Queensland Law Reform Commission (QLRC) in Brisbane.
Dr Plater and Ms Holt also met with Professor Jeremy Pritchard and Dr Nina Hudson of the Tasmania Law Reform Institute (TLRI) on 4 December 2023.
These all proved valuable meetings and SALRI thanks all our law reform colleagues for their warm welcomes.
Law reform connections and cooperation
There is strong support for enhanced law reform links and cooperation and acknowledgment of the often overlooked role and value of law reform. We shared insights into law reform processes and the role of law reform agencies in Australia. Cultivating these connections is an excellent way to promote mutual support and enhance the contributions of all law reform agencies to Australia's legal landscape.
Some topics covered included
- the role and value of consultation and supporting parties who may experience consultation fatigue. The importance of honest and respectful engagement with Aboriginal communities
- the relational aspects between government, the community, and law reform agencies, and
- new technology and innovation for more accurate and efficient law reform processes;
- the role and contribution of the Law Reform class; and
- Current and forthcoming projects, notably SALRI’s present suppression orders reference.
On 29 November 2023, Professor Williams (online), Dr Plater and Ms Holt also met Justice Ryan of the Queensland Supreme Court and the Benchbook Committee. This was also a very helpful meeting. SALRI thanks Justice Ryan and Professor Martine Powell and Dr Robyn Blewer of Griffith University.
SALRI looks forward to sharing more law reform conversations and collaborations in the future.