The Law Commission reviews areas of the law that have become unduly complicated, outdated or unfair. Following a process of research and consultation, the Commission makes recommendations for reform of the law to Government.
The functions of the Law Commission are set out in legislation:
Law reform projects
From time to time we consult widely to help us establish a new programme of law reform projects. As set out in the Law Commissions Act 1965, the Lord Chancellor decides the final contents of a law reform Programme. We also take referrals from Government Departments.
Simplifying the law
The Commission has a statutory obligation to simplify the law. We do this in a number of ways:
Codification of the law
The Commission believes that the law would be more accessible to the citizen, and easier for the courts to understand and apply, if it were presented as a series of statutory codes. As a preliminary step, to prepare the ground, we are working on a number of projects that aim to simplify aspects of the criminal law.
Consolidation of Statutes
Consolidation brings together under one Act all the existing statutory provisions previously located in several different Acts. The law itself remains unchanged, but those who use it can now find it all in one place.
Statute Law Repeals
Parliament has been enacting statutes for over 750 years. Although many of the older statutes have been repealed, many remain which are obsolete or unnecessary. A Statute Law (Repeals) Act enables a large number of statutes which are no longer of any practical use to be repealed together. However, while it is important to tidy up the statute book, it is just as important to avoid accidentally removing the legal basis for someone's rights, and therefore a great deal of consultation is needed. Since 1965 the whole or part of nearly 5,000 enactments have been repealed by Statute Law (Repeals) Acts.
The Law Commission has a dedicated Statute Law Repeals team.
More about what we do
Former Chairman of the Law Commission, Lord Justice Etherton, talks to Mr Justice Sales about the role the Commission plays in making legislation.