Electoral law

Status: Having completed the scoping phase on 11 December 2012, we have commenced work on reforming electoral law.  We expect to open a consultation in late 2014.  A report with recommendations to Government will be published in summer 2015

Electoral law in the UK has grown complex, voluminous, and fragmented, with many statutes and secondary legislation governing a long list of elections and referendums.  The twin aims of the project are to ensure, first, that electoral laws are presented within a rational, modern legislative framework, governing all elections and referendums under statute; and second, that the law governing the conduct of elections and referendums is modern, simple, and fit for purpose.

The project

This project is split into three phases, with review points between phases. The first phase, a scoping exercise including a consultation which ended on 17 September 2012, was completed with the publication of our scoping report on 11 December 2012.

The second phase involves formulating law reform proposals.  Owing to the UK wide nature of electoral law, this phase is being conducted jointly with the Scottish Law Commission and the Northern Ireland Commission.

Next steps

We aim to produce a detailed consultation paper in late 2014, after the planned referendum on Scottish independence, and finalise our substantive law reform recommendations in the summer of 2015.  There would then be a further review point.  If the Commissions and Government decide to continue with the project, we aim to publish a final report and bill in early 2017.