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:
- 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.
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
Dean of the Adelaide Law School's Nominee
Professor Melissa de Zwart is Dean of Law, Adelaide Law School. Melissa has a keen interest in the intersection between law and technology. Prior to joining academia, she was the Manager, Legal Services, CSIRO, where she advised on protection and commercialisation of technology. Her areas of research focus primarily on digital technology, as it interacts with culture, human behaviour and new areas of innovation. She has published widely on copyright, social media, surveillance, popular culture and the commercialisation of outer space. She is the Deputy Director of the Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics, a Member of the Advisory Council of Space Industry Association and the Editor of the Media & Arts Law Review. Melissa is frequently asked to advise on social media and technology issues to judges, the media, schools and government. In 2015 she was the Team Leader of the AdelaideX Cyberwar, Surveillance and Security MOOC which has attracted over 32,000 students globally.
The Chief Justice of South Australia's Nominee
Graduated BA (1983), LLB (1982) Adelaide University.
Admitted as a Practitioner of the Supreme Court, South Australia 1982.
Practised in the firm now known as Duncan Basheer Hannon 1982 – 1989.
Called to the Independent Bar 1989 and practised from Hanson Chambers from 1989 – 2011.
Appointed Queen’s Counsel 2006.
Appointed Judge of the Supreme Court 2011.
The Attorney-General's Nominee
Dini has a background in law, consumer protection, corporate regulation, enforcement, change management and strategic leadership.
Prior to his current role Dini was the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs and Liquor & Gambling with Consumer & Business Services. CBS has a very broad portfolio including consumer protection, product safety, occupational licensing, liquor licensing, gambling regulation, charities regulation, residential tenancies and births deaths and marriages.
Dini’s background is as a solicitor in private practice, working in the areas of insurance, worker’s compensation and criminal law. He then moved to the Australian Customs Service where he was the Manager Border Enforcement responsible for investigations and ship search teams. Dini then joined the Australian Securities & Investments Commission where he had national responsibility for complaints, investigations and prosecutions dealing with matters ranging from scams to liquidator misconduct to director’s duties breaches to insolvent trading.
The Vice-Chancellor and President's Nominee
Graduated as a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide at the end of 1962 and was admitted as a legal practitioner in March 1964. He became a partner in the firm of Baker McEwin & Co (now Minter Ellison) and retired from that firm at the end of 1981 to practise solely as a barrister. He was a founding member of Jeffcott Chambers. He was appointed Queens Counsel in 1982. His practice at the Bar was principally in industrial, commercial and administrative law. He held various positions in the Law Society of SA, the Supreme Court Board of Examiners and was Chair of the Teachers Registration Board.
In March 1997 he was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of SA, a position from which he will retired on 10 June 2011. He now holds the position of Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Adelaide.
The SA Bar Asssociation's Nominee
Jonathan Wells is a practising barrister. He holds law degrees from the University of Adelaide (LL B, 1974) and from Oxford University (BCL, 1977). He was called to the independent Bar in 1979, and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1990.
He appears in all jurisdictions, including State Supreme Courts, the Federal Court of Australia, and the High Court of Australia. He is an experienced trial and appellate advocate, most often in commercial and equity matters, public law and professional negligence. These days his involvement in the criminal jurisdiction is limited to appeals.
His professional commitments include legal education, access to justice, and lawyers' ethics. He has been a member of the SA Bar Council since 1997, and was its President from 2003 to 2006.
The SA Law Society's Nominee
Terry is an experienced commercial solicitor who has acted in major transactions and has given corporate and regulatory advice at senior levels in both the public and private sectors. He was a partner specialising in corporate and revenue work at Minter Ellison until 1996. He then practised for 8 years at Chief Commercial Counsel in the South Australian Attorney General's Department. There he was engaged in major asset sales, outsourcing, PPP's and BOOT projects across a diverse range of industries and services including electricity, water, housing, health, education, transport, ports, gaming, oil and gas and emergency services.
He also has experience as a senior manager. He was managing partner in the Adelaide practice of Minter Ellison in the early 90's and spent 2 ½ years until March of 2006 as Deputy Chief Executive and then acting Chief Executive of the South Australian Justice Department. As a result, he knows how both the private and public sectors work and he understands their different needs.
He has written and presented many papers to forums in both the private and public sectors on many subjects including revenue law, contracts, trusts, procurement, probity, governance and accounting.
Terry was recognised by his peers in the Best Lawyers: Australia (2010) for his work across the government sector.
- Current Projects
The South Australian Law Reform Institute is currently undertaking the following projects:
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)
A Final Report is currently being prepared.
Succession Law: Family Inheritance
An examination of the role and operation of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 (SA)
As part of its broader reference relating to Succession Law, the Institute is undertaking a review of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 (SA). The project looks 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.
Consultation - SUBMISSIONS HAVE NOW CLOSED
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.
Although the deadline for submissions has now closed, the Institute is willing to consider any last comments so please get in touch to share your views.
The following Fact Sheets help explain the key issues arising in this inquiry, and sets out some of the questions the Institute was keen to get feedback on. For simplicity, a summary list of ALL the discussion questions can be found below.
- Fact Sheet 1 - Background information
- Fact Sheet 2 - Policy behind family provision
- Fact Sheet 3 - Testamentary freedom
- Fact Sheet 4 - Making a claim
- Fact Sheet 5 - Further criteria
- Fact Sheet 6 - Timing and costs
- Fact Sheet 7 - Notional estate and clawback provisions
- Summary List of Discussion Questions
A more detailed Background Paper was prepared for Legal Practitioners or those seeking more information about the issues arising in this Reference.
An information video called Family Inheritance: The Full Story was prepared for this Reference and addresses the issues raised in the Fact Sheets above.
PLEASE NOTE: The Institute is unable to provide legal advice. Our role is to listen to your views on how the laws are working now, and consider your suggestions as possible recommendations for changes by the Government in the future.
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.
Common Law Forfeiture Rule
A review of the application of the common law forfeiture rule in South Australia
A review of general police powers of search and seizure.
- 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
- Publications: Reports and Papers
Reports and Papers Title Details Date
Legislative or regulatory discrimination against individuals and families on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or intersex status
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)
Review of the South Australian laws of intestacy
Issues Paper 7 and downloadable Questionnaire (submissions are closed) December 2015
Whether there should be a will register in South Australia
Review of the procedures for administration of small deceased estates and minor succession law disputes in South Australia
Invasion of personal privacy
Considers whether there should be a statutory tort for invasion of personal privacy in South Australia
Witness oath and affirmation
Review of the form of witness oath and affirmation in South Australia
Review of sureties' guarantees for letters of administration
Issues Paper 2 December 2012 Final Report 2 August 2013
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.
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
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
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
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
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