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South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI)

The South Australian Law Reform Institute was established in December 2010. The Institute, based at the Adelaide Law School, is formed by an agreement between the Attorney-General of South Australia, the University of Adelaide and the Law Society of South Australia.

Report released which clarifies and recommends improvements to the current system, in order to most appropriately allow and facilitate lawful domestic surrogacy for South Australians.

The Report makes a total of 69 recommendations. In summary, SALRI supports a suitable regulatory framework for South Australia that prohibits commercial surrogacy and maintains a distinction between commercial and non-commercial surrogacy. SALRI’s recommendations clarify and improve the current system to most appropriately allow and facilitate lawful domestic surrogacy for South Australians, but discourages and deters recourse to unlawful surrogacy, especially offshore commercial surrogacy. It is unrealistic, in light of the diversity of modern families and the dramatic advances in reproductive technology, to expect that the law can cover every conceivable surrogacy situation that might arise. Nevertheless, SALRI considers that the framework which it has recommended is the most effective and appropriate to recognise and respect the interests of all parties, but crucially to protect the best interests of a child born as a result of surrogacy. This must always be the primary or paramount factor of any scheme.  

What next?

The government has developed a draft Surrogacy Bill 2018, reflecting some of the recommendations in SALRI 's report into South Australian surrogacy laws. Interested South Australians are invited to provide feedback on both the SALRI report recommendations and the draft Surrogacy Bill 2018 on the SA Government’s YourSAy site. 

Download report

Report released: Provocation is no excuse and murder laws should be changed

The SA Law Reform Institute has published a report which says the use of provocation as a defence to murder should have no place in South Australian criminal law.

Download report

Objectives and Sources for the institute's work

The functions of the institute are:

  • to conduct reviews and/or research on areas of law and legal policy specified by the Advisory Board;
  • to conduct these reviews and/or research, where appropriate on a consultancy basis;
  • to conduct reviews and research on proposals from the Attorney-General with a view to:
    • the modernisation of the law;
    • the elimination of defects in the law;
    • the consolidation of any laws;
    • the repeal of laws that are obsolete or unnecessary; and
    • uniformity between laws of other States and the Commonwealth.
  • to provide reports to the Attorney-General or other authorities on the outcomes of reviews and/or research and to make recommendations based on those outcomes;
  • to work with law reform agencies in other states and territories on proposals for reform of the laws in any other jurisdiction or within the Commonwealth; and
  • to recommend to Government on the basis of detailed and impartial research.

Sources for the institute's work

The advisory board can receive proposals to undertake projects from the following bodies:

  • The Attorney-General;
  • The University of Adelaide;
  • The South Australian judiciary;
  • The Legal Services Commission;
  • The Law Society of South Australia;
  • The South Australian Bar Association; and
  • Other representative organisations having standing in the community.

In determining which projects to undertake the Advisory Board will:

  • Take into account whether there are sufficient resources available including funds to cover the cost of the Institute undertaking the project, time frames for completion and the expected outputs of the project;
  • Consider the importance of the project to the administration of justice in the State of South Australia; and
  • Consider giving priority to such matters as may be identified by the Attorney-General as requiring legal research and advice from time to time.

Key contacts


  • Sarah Moulds (Senior Project Officer)
  • Louise Scarman (Administrative Officer)

SALRI advisory board

  • Professor Melissa de Zwart
  • Ms Aimee Travers
  • The Honourable Justice Tim Stanley
  • Mr Dini Soulio
  • The Honourable David Bleby QC
  • Mr Stephen McDonald
  • Mr Terry Evans

Current projects


Review of legislative or regulatory discrimination against individuals and families on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or intersex status

Following release of the Institute's Audit Report in September 2015, the Institute released subsequent reports dealing with issues from the Audit Report which required further investigation and consultation.  These reports deal with:

Further information about the Institute, this Reference, its approach to terminology and its Audit of South Australian laws that discriminate on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status can be found in its Audit Report.

Family inheritance

As part of its broader reference relating to Succession Law, the Institute  undertook an examination of the role and operation of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 (SA).  The project looked at whether the current laws that govern who can contest a will when a family member dies are working fairly or are in need of reform. 

The Institute was keen for its consultation to be as inclusive as possible.  A community consultation process was undertaken and included an online survey, community Roundtables (in Adelaide and regional areas) and the opportunity to provide written submissions.

Key documents:

Who may inspect a will

There is currently no law in South Australia governing who may inspect a will.

This report is part of the Institute's wider work into succession law reform in South Australia and was prepared in combination with the Institute's review of the role and operation of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 (SA). In this Report, the Institute considered whether it may be appropriate for South Australia to adopt the model provision recommended by the National Committee for Succession Law.

Common law forfeiture rule

A review of the application of the common law forfeiture rule in South Australia.

Police powers

A review of general police powers of search and seizure.

Other resources

Past projects

Past Projects
Title Details Date

Sureties Guarantees for letters of administration (Succession project)

Issues Paper December 2012
Final Report August 2013
Modernising the Evidence Act 1929 (SA) to deal with new technologies Issues Paper May 2012
Final Report October 2012
Witness Oaths and Affirmations Issues Paper October 2013
Final Report January 2016
Privacy Issues Paper December 2013
Final Report March 2016
Wills Register (succession project) Issues Paper July 2014
Final Report October 2016
Small estates and minor succession disputes (succession project) Issues Paper January 2014
Final Report December 2016
Intestacy (succession project) Issues Paper December 2015
Final Report July 2017
Missing Persons (succession project) Final Report July 2017
Review of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 (SA) Final Report December 2017
Who may inspect a will Report December 2017

Publications: reports and papers

Reports and papers





Legislative or regulatory discrimination against individuals and families on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or intersex status

Audit Report

Appendix 1 - Audit Table of SA legislation

Appendix 2 - Submissions received

Appendix 3 - Fact Sheets

Appendix 4 - Reforms in other Australian jurisdictions

Appendix 5 - Consultations undertaken

Issues Paper - Exemptions under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA)

Final Report - Laws regulating sexual reassignment and registration of sex and gender

Final Report - Rainbow Families: Equal Recognition of Relationships and Access to Existing Laws Relating to Parentage, Assisted Reproductive Treatment and Surrogacy

Final Report - 'Lawful Discrimination': Exceptions under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) to unlawful discrimination on the grounds of gender identity, sexual orientation and intersex status

Report: Stage 1 - 'The Provoking Operation of Provocation: Stage 1

September 2015






February 2016


June 2016


June 2016


April 2017

Succession law

Who may inspect a will

Final Report 10

December 2017

Succession law

Review of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 (SA)

Final Report 9

December 2017

Succession law

Review of the South Australian laws of intestacy

Issues Paper 7 and downloadable Questionnaire (submissions are closed)

Final Report 7

December 2015

July 2017

Succession law

Management of the Affairs of a Missing Person

Final Report 8

July 2017

Succession law

Whether there should be a will register in South Australia

Issues Paper 6 and downloadable Questionnaire (submissions are closed)

Final Report 5

July 2014


October 2016

Succession law

Review of the procedures for administration of small deceased estates and minor succession law disputes in South Australia

Issues Paper 5 and downloadable Questionnaire (submissions are closed)

Further consultation paper

Final Report 6

January 2014


December 2016

Invasion of personal privacy

Considers whether there should be a statutory tort for invasion of personal privacy in South Australia

Issues Paper 4 and downloadable Questionnaire (submissions are closed)

Final Report 4

December 2013


March 2016

Witness oath and affirmation

Review of the form of witness oath and affirmation in South Australia

Issues Paper 3 and downloadable Questionnaire (submissions are closed)

Final Report 3

Appendix 1 to Final Report

Appendix 2 to Final Report

Appendix 3 to Final Report

October 2013


February 2016

Succession law

Review of sureties' guarantees for letters of administration

Issues Paper 2

December 2012

Final Report 2

August 2013

Evidence law

Modernisation of South Australian evidence law to deal with new technologies

Issues Paper 1

May 2012

Final Report 1

October 2012


A legislative framework – review of Part 2B of the Family Relationships Act 1975 (SA)

Report October 2018

Publications: annual reports

History of Law Reform in South Australia

South Australia has had a long history of law reform. Its own constitutional arrangements including recognition of Indigenous Australians, rights for women and the Torrens system of land registration are just some examples.

In the 1960s South Australia had, with Justice Howard Zelling as its Chair, a Law Reform Committee. Operating from 1968 to 1987 it produced 106 reports on various topics ranging from the Oaths Act, 1936 to Section 17 of the Wills Act, 1936-1966.

Browse the archive of Law Reform Committee of South Australia Reports (1968-1987)

In December 2010 the Attorney-General of South Australia, Vice Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, President of the Law Society of South Australia, signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the South Australian Law Reform Institute at the University of Adelaide.

The South Australian Law Reform Institute, and its members, will play a key role in improving the administration of justice in South Australia. The Institute will help modernise, simplify and consolidate laws and the administration of the justice system and, in doing so, improve access to justice for the community.
Attorney-General of South Australia, Mr John Rau.

Law Reform Committee of South Australia reports archive (1968-1987)*

The names of the reports have been abbreviated for ease of reference. The full title appears on the report itself.

Note also that the publication year does not always correspond with the number sequence for the reports.

Reports 52, 93, 98, 99, 100, 103 and 105 were not published.

Law Reform Committee of South Australia Reports (1968-1987)

Year published
Evidence Act 1929-1968 and Children's Protection Act 1936-1961
Oaths Act 1936
Testator's Family Maintenance Act 1918-1943
Motor Vehicles Act 1959-1968, s118
Arbitration Act 1891-1935
Wills Act 1936-1966, s17
Foreign Judgments Bill
Construction of statutes
Evidence Act, new part VI A: Computer evidence
Women and women's rights
Limitation of time for bringing actions
Proposed Uniform Anatomical Gifts Act
Attempted suicide
Libel and slander
Sealing of documents
Mortgages and the rights of mortgagees
Illegitimate children
Adoption of Trade Descriptions Act 1968 (UK), s14
Motor Vehicles Act 1969-70, s124
Evidence taken out of the jurisdiction
Administration bonds and the rights of retainer and preference of personal representatives of deceased persons
Civil actions against witnesses who have committed perjury
Occupier's liability
Misfeasance and non-feasance
Fences and fencing
Wrongs Act: remarriage of a widow in assessment of damages in fatal accidents
Intestacy and wills
Award of costs to a litigant appearing in person
Execution of civil judgments
An Appeal Costs Fund Act
Past records of offenders and other persons
Liability under Motor Vehicles Act 1959-1974, Part 4
Repeal of the Statute of Frauds and cognate enactments
Standard terms in tenancy agreements
Class actions
Doctrines of frustration and illegality in the law of contract
Proposed amendments to Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1923-1974
Powers of investment of trustees under the Trustee Act
Contractual capacity of infants
Proceedings against and contributions between tortfeasors and other defendants
Proposed contracts review legislation
Effect of divorce upon wills
Competence of spouses as witnesses in criminal prosecutions for injuries causing death or serious bodily injury to children
Form of oath to be used in courts and other tribunals
Powers of attorney
Owners or occupiers of land and trespassers on that land
Proposed bill regulating company takeovers
Data protection
Review and reappraisal of the 25th Report (Misfeasance and non-feasance)
Projected Securities Industry Bill 1980 (Cth)
Inherited imperial law on property, trusts, uses, equity and wills
Inherited imperial law on practice and procedure
Fatal accidents provisions of the Wrongs Act 1936
Companies Bill 1980
Inherited imperial law on proceedings in summary jurisdiction
Inherited imperial criminal law
Locus standi in company law
Inherited imperial law and the civil jurisdiction and procedure of the Supreme Court
Company law relating to pre-incorporation contracts
Motor Vehicles Act 1959, s125
Wills and intestacies
Inherited imperial law regarding the Crown
Locus standi: non-party interventions and amici curiae in civil proceedings
Inherited imperial law on gaming and wagering
Group defamation
Locus standi: prisoners rights
Doctrine of frustration in the law of contract
Contracts Review Bill 1978, further consideration
Prescription and limitation of actions
Delivery of deeds
Inherited imperial law 1225-1557
Inherited imperial law 1558-1701
Inherited imperial law 1702-1750
Demise of the Crown
Administrative appeals
Civil actions for perjury committed in criminal proceedings and the tort of malicious prosecution
Irrecoverability of benefits obtained by mistake of law
Inherited imperial law 1751-1780
Inherited imperial law 1781-1800
Claims for injuries from toxic substances and radiation effects
Problems of proof of survivorship as between two or more persons dying at about the same time in one accident
Inherited imperial law 1801-1820
Entire contracts and the rule in Cutter v. Powell
Inherited imperial law 1821-1836
Inherited imperial Sunday Observance or Lord's Day Acts
Qui tam and penal actions and common informers
Detinue, conversion and trespass to goods
Inherited imperial law and constitutional statutes
97 Pt 1
General rule of standing in environmental matters
97 Pt 2
General rule of standing in environmental matters
Maintenance, champerty, embracery, and barratry, malicious prosecution and abuse of process
Inherited Imperial Law and statutes previously covered by the Colonial Laws Validity Act1865
Proceedings by or against the Crown
Effect of mistake upon contracts