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South Australian Law Reform Institute

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.

  • Functions and Objectives

    The functions and objectives 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:
      1. The modernisation of the law;
      2. The elimination of defects in the law;
      3. The consolidation of any laws;
      4. The repeal of laws that are obsolete or unnecessary; and
      5. 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.

    The Institute's role is limited to the function and objectives listed above. The Institute does not offer legal advice. It does not deal with matters related to complaints about the legal profession.


    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.
  • Directors and Advisory Board
    Director
    Professor John Williams
    Deputy Director
    Dr David Plater
    Other Staff

    Sarah Moulds - Senior Project Officer

    Louise Scarman - Administrative Officer

    South Australian Law Reform Institute Advisory Board
    Emerita Professor Rosemary Owens AO Dean of the Adelaide Law School's Nominee
  • Current Projects

    The South Australian Law Reform Institute is currently undertaking the following projects:

    LGBTIQ - Review of Legislative or Regulatory Discrimination

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

    In preparing the above Audit Report, the Institute called for written submissions from interested groups and individuals using an online feedback form or by accessing the SA Government's YourSAy website. Submissions have now closed. Confidential submissions were also accepted.

    The Statues Amendment (Gender Identity and Equity) Act 2016 has now passed the South Australian Parliament with a commencement date yet to be proclaimed.

    The following Fact Sheets were prepared to assist in clarifying what the law currently says about the rights of LGBTIQ people, identifying how certain relationships are recognised under the law, or about who can access what services. They also contain questions that could be used to prompt discussions or to help structure written submissions at the appropriate time.


    Laws Regulating Sexual Reassignment and Registration of Sex and Gender

    On 29 October 2015 the South Australian Law Reform Institute (‘the Institute’) hosted a Roundtable of community members, medical and legal experts, and representatives from relevant Government agencies to discuss the issues identified in the Institute's September 2015 Report Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and intersex status in South Australian legislation (‘the Audit Report’) concerning South Australian laws relating to sexual reassignment surgery and the legal recognition of sex and/or gender.

    The shared views of the Roundtable attendees, along with questions arising from the Roundtable discussions, are contained in the Roundtable Report. These views are not the confirmed views of the Institute, however they provided an important framework for further consultation and research.

    Submissions to the questions or issues raised in the Roundtable Report have now closed.

    The Final Report was released on 10 February 2016.

    Appendix 1 to Final Report: List of Roundtable participants

    Appendix 2 to Final Report: Roundtable Report

    Appendix 3 to Final Report: Comparative table of laws

    Appendix 4 to Final Report: List of additional written submissions received


    The effect of exceptions under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA)

    As foreshadowed in the Institute's Audit Report (refer above) in September 2015, the Institute conducted further research in relation to a number of the more complex issues raised by the audit process as part of the work under its reference to review legislative or regulatory discrimination against individuals and families on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or intersex status.

    An Issues Paper was prepared which examines the existing exceptions to the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) ('EO Act') and discusses, in detail, the particular exceptions in the EO Act that prompted concern in submissions to the Institute during the initial consultation process, along with possible reform options.

    The exceptions in the EO Act which give rise to the most concern and are addressed in this Issues Paper are exceptions  for religious organisations (especially in the area of employment); exceptions relating to participation in competitive sports; exceptions in the provision of health care relating to blood donation and assisted reproductive treatment; health care provision by religious institutions; the terminology in the exceptions for clubs and associations and the measures in the EO Act intended to achieve greater equality.

    Written submissions were invited from all interested members of the public and other groups on the issues raised and options for reform presented in this paper. Submissions have now closed.

    The Final Report was released on 30 June 2016.

    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.


    Equal Recognition of Relationships and Removal of Discrimination with Respect to Parenting Rights 

    On 15 February 2016 the South Australian Law Reform Institute (‘the Institute’) hosted a Roundtable of community members, legal experts, and representatives from relevant Government agencies to discuss the issues identified in the Institute's September 2015 Report Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and intersex status in South Australian legislation (‘the Audit Report’) concerning South Australian laws relating to the legal recognition of relationships and parenting rights.

    The shared views of the Roundtable attendees arising from the Roundtable discussions are contained in the Roundtable Report. These views are not the confirmed views of the Institute, however they provide an important framework for further consultation and research.

    The Institute welcomed further written submissions to the issues raised in the Roundtable Report by 26 February 2016. Submissions have now closed.

    The Final Report was released on 2 June 2016.

    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.


    Removal of Discrimination with Respect to Access to Surrogacy and Assisted Reproductive Treatment

    On 23 February 2016 the South Australian Law Reform Institute (‘the Institute’) hosted a Roundtable of community members, legal experts, and representatives from relevant Government agencies to discuss the issues identified in the Institute's September 2015 Report Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and intersex status in South Australian legislation (‘the Audit Report’) concerning South Australian laws relating to access to the provisions in the Family Relationships Act 1984 (SA) relating to surrogacy and assisted reproductive treatment.

    The shared views of the Roundtable attendees arising from the Roundtable discussions are contained in the Roundtable Report. These views are not the confirmed views of the Institute, however they provide an important framework for further consultation and research.

    The Institute welcomed further written submissions to the issues raised in the Roundtable Report.  Submissions have now closed.

    The Final Report was released on 2 June 2016.

    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.

    Succession Law: Intestacy

    A review of the current South Australian laws of intestacy (part of the Institute's wider review of the South Australian laws of succession)

    Succession Law: Wills Register

    Whether there should be a register of wills in South Australia (part of the Institute's wider review of the South Australian laws of succession)

    Succession Law: Small Estates & Minor Succession Law Disputes

    A review of the procedures for administration of small deceased estates and minor succession law disputes in South Australia (part of the Institute's wider review of the South Australian laws of succession)

    Privacy

    An investigation of the potential for a statutory cause of action for invasion of personal privacy in South Australia

    Other Succession Laws

    Review of the South Australian laws of succession, including laws relating to:

    • recognition of interstate grants
    • family provision
    • whether there should be a small claims jurisdiction for deceased estates in South Australia
    Common Law Forfeiture Rule

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

    Police Powers

    A review of police powers of search and seizure and compelled access in relation to computers suspected of containing evidence of crime and encrypted computer records suspected of containing material relating to child pornography or other criminal activities

  • Past Projects
    Past Projects
    Title Details Date

    Sureties Guarantees for letters of administration

    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
  • Publications: Reports and Papers
    Reports and Papers
    Title Details Date

    LGBTIQ

    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

    September 2015

    February 2016

    February 2016

    June 2016

    June 2016

    Succession law

    Review of the South Australian laws of intestacy

    Issues Paper 7 and downloadable Questionnaire (Submissions close 27 May 2016) December 2015

    Succession law

    Whether there should be a will register in South Australia

    Issues Paper 6 and downloadable Questionnaire (Submissions closed 12/9/14) July 2014

    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

    January 2014

    Invasion of personal privacy

    Considers whether there should be a statutory cause of action 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
  • 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 useful links

    The links are in three categories: Australian law reform agencies, other Australian agencies contributing to law reform and international law reform agencies.


    Australian Law Reform Agencies

    ACT Law Reform Advisory Council
    Australian Law Reform Commission
    New South Wales Law Reform Commission
    Northern Territory Law Reform Committee
    Queensland Law Reform Commission
    Tasmania Law Reform Institute
    Victorian Law Reform Commission
    Victorian Parliamentary Law Reform Committee
    Law Reform Commission of Western Australian


    Other Australian Agencies contributing to law reform

    Administrative Review Council
    Australian Government Attorney-General's Department
    Corporations & Market Advisory Committee
    Family Law Council
    Law Society of South Australia
    Queensland Crime & Misconduct Commission
    South Australian Attorney-General's Department
    Victorian Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee


    International Law Reform Agencies

    Canada

    Federation of Law Reform Agencies of Canada
    Uniform Law Conference of Canada
    Alberta Law Reform Institute
    British Columbia Law Institute
    Law Commission of Ontario
    Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia
    Manitoba Law Reform Commission
    New Brunswick Office of the Attorney General
    Quebec Research Centre of Private and Comparative Law
    The Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan


    United Kingdom

    Law Commission
    Civil Law Reform Division, Departmental Solicitors Office
    Scottish Law Commission


    United States

    Uniform Law Commission
    California Law Revision Commission
    Connecticut Law Revision Commission
    Law Revision Commission
    Michigan Law Revision Commission
    New Jersey Law Revision Commission
    New York State Law Revision Commission
    Oregon Law Commission


    Other

    Association of Law Reform Agencies for Eastern and Southern Africa (ALRAESA)
    Law Reform and Revision Commission of The Bahamas
    Bangladesh Law Commission
    British Virgin Islands Law Reform Commission
    Cayman Islands Law Reform Commission
    Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies
    Fiji Law Reform Commission
    Ghana Law Reform Commission
    Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong
    Law Commission of India
    The Law Reform Commission of Ireland
    Jersey Law Commission
    Kenya Law Reform Commission
    Malawi Law Commission
    Law Reform Commission of Mauritius
    Law Reform and Development Commission of Namibia
    Law Commission of New Zealand
    Nigerian Law Reform Commission
    Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan
    Constitutional and Law Reform Commission of Papua New Guinea
    Singapore Legislation & Law Reform Division
    Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission
    South African Law Reform Commission
    Law Commission of Sri Lanka
    Law Reform Commission of Tanzania
    Uganda Law Reform Commission

  • Contact the Institute

    South Australian Law Reform Institute
    Adelaide Law School
    University of Adelaide AUSTRALIA 5005
    Telephone: (08) 8313 5582
    Email

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