News

12th Programme of Law Reform

23 July 2014

Following extensive consultation, we have launched our Twelfth Programme of Law Reform. The programme includes nine projects: Bills of sale, Firearms, The form and accessibility of the law applicable to Wales, Land registration, Mental capacity and detention, Planning and development control in Wales, Protecting consumer prepayments on retailer insolvency, Sentencing procedure and Wills.

Insurance Contract Law

17 July 2014

Report from the Law Commissions of England and Wales and of Scotland making recommendations for reform to modernise business insurance law. The majority of these recommendations are included in the Government’s Insurance Bill.

Data sharing between public bodies

11 July 2014

Report recommending a full-scale, UK-wide law reform project to modernise, simplify and clarify the law relating to data sharing between public bodies and the organisations that are increasingly carrying out public functions.

Fiduciary Duties of Investment Intermediaries

01 July 2014

Report responding to concerns raised in the 2012 Kay Review that uncertainty about their legal duties leads investors to focus on short-term movements in share price rather than making long-term investment decisions based on the fundamental value of a company.

Conservation Covenants

24 June 2014

A report recommending a new statutory scheme be established to allow landowners to ensure the long-term conservation of features on their land such as forests, habitats and historic buildings.

Hate crime: should the current offences be extended?

28 May 2014

A report examining whether the current hate crime offences under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and Public Order Act 1986 should be extended to bring equality of treatment across the five characteristics.

Reforming the regulation of taxis and private hire vehicles

23 May 2014

A report recommending reforms that would update the law that governs how taxis and private hire vehicles operate and make it clearer for those working in the taxi and private hire trades and their passengers.

Reforming adult social care

14 May 2014

The Care Act received Royal Assent on 14 May, bringing into force our important recommendations for reform of adult social care. The Act implements over 95 per cent of our 2011 report, Adult Social Care, which recommended the most far-reaching reforms of adult social care law seen for over 60 years.

Law Commissioner Nicholas Paines QC said: "We are delighted that the Care Act has received Royal Assent. Together with the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act, which received Royal Assent on 1 May, this puts in place a coherent framework to govern the provision of adult social care across England and Wales.

“The new Act replaces over 65 years of piecemeal legislation. It places personalisation on a statutory footing for the first time, gives new legal rights to carers and introduces a new legal framework for safeguarding vulnerable adults. It will streamline and modernise a system that has its roots in the poor law, clarifying rights and responsibilities for older and disabled people and local councils, and improving the position of carers.

"We are very pleased that the Department of Health and the Welsh Government accepted our recommendations and acted so swiftly to implement these important and much-needed reforms.”

Inheritance and Trustees' Powers

14 May 2014

The Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Act received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014, implementing in part the recommendations made in our report, Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death.

Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014

14 May 2014

The Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014, giving effect to recommendations of the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission.

Social Investment by Charities

24 April 2014

We are opening a consultation seeking views on changes to the law that governs how charities make social investments. The consultation paper analyses the legal framework, explains the ways in which the law already supports charity trustees and proposes changes that would clarify the way in which charities can use social investments to achieve their charitable aims.

Regulating Health and Social Care Professionals

02 April 2014

A report recommending a single UK-wide legal framework for the regulation of health care professionals in the UK and social work professionals in England

Contempt of Court (2): Court Reporting

26 March 2014

In the second of our reports on Contempt of Court, we recommend that a new online service be established to help journalists and publishers reporting criminal trials discover whether reporting restrictions are in force and, if so, why.

Chairman's statement on Government's Triennial Review of the Law Commission

20 March 2014

Government concluded its Triennial Review of the Law Commission and published its Stage Two Report on 20 March 2014.

Chairman, Sir David Lloyd Jones, said: “Triennial Reviews are part of the process by which Government departments scrutinise arm’s-length bodies. The Law Commission has stood up well to this scrutiny and we are pleased to note that the Government has formally recognised the continuing need for the Commission’s existing functions.

“The review also acknowledges the value that our many stakeholders place on the independence and impartiality of the Commission, and confirms that our non-departmental status is the most appropriate model for maintaining this independence.

“Since the Law Commission was set up in 1965, our recommendations have led to wide-ranging, profound and enduring changes in the law. Fifty years later, the need for a principled and strategic approach to law reform remains as strong as ever. We are delighted that the Government considers the Law Commission – in both form and function – to be the most appropriate body to continue this vital work.”

Making it easier for separating couples to manage their finances and property

27 February 2014

We have published a report recommending a set of measures to make it easier for couples to manage their financial affairs on divorce or at the end of a civil partnership.

A new approach to controlling invasive non-native species

11 February 2014

We have published a report, making recommendations on the control of invasive non-native species as part of our project on wildlife.

Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Bill – a consolidation of the law

19 December 2013

Our Bill to modernise and simplify the law governing co-operative and community benefit societies has been introduced into the House of Lords.

Contempt of Court: Juror Misconduct and Internet Publications

09 December 2013

In a report published today we make recommendations to reform elements of the law governing contempt of court.

Gianni Sonvico

12 November 2013

“All of us at the Law Commission are greatly saddened by the death of our colleague Gianni Sonvico.  Gianni was a valuable and well-liked member of the Commission.  He was a friendly and charming colleague and talented lawyer, who had the potential to make a significant impression on the legal world.  Gianni’s death is a great loss.  His friends and colleagues at the Law Commission will miss him, and our thoughts are with his family.”

Sir David Lloyd Jones, Chairman, and Elaine Lorimer, Chief Executive

Appointment of Nicholas Paines QC. Re-appointment of David Hertzell

07 November 2013

We are pleased to welcome Nicholas Paines QC to the Law Commission to lead our work on public law.

Mr Paines, who joins the Commission on 18 November 2013, is a leading silk in EU and public law. He sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Administrative Court, a Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) and the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) and a Recorder in the Crown Court. He is also a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland.

Chairman Sir David Lloyd Jones said: “Mr Paines is highly experienced and well respected throughout the legal profession. We are delighted that he is joining us. His knowledge and experience will be invaluable in taking forward our law reform work in public law.

“I am also delighted that David Hertzell has been re-appointed as Law Commissioner for commercial and common law for a further year. Since his appointment in 2007, Mr Hertzell has led many law reform projects for the Commission, including our far-reaching and comprehensive programme on the reform of insurance law, with significant success.

“This is an exciting time for the Law Commission; we expect to commence work on our new programme of law reform in 2014, and it will be of great benefit to the Commission that Mr Paines and Mr Hertzell will be with us.”

Charity Law, selected issues

25 October 2013

We have agreed with the Office for Civil Society in the Cabinet Office to undertake a review of certain aspects of the law governing mixed-purpose social investment by charities as part of the Selected Issues in Charity Law project.

We will consider whether reform is necessary to clarify the powers and duties of charity trustees in making mixed purpose investments, in particular whether a specific statutory investment power should be introduced for this purpose. We will also consult on the creation of a new legal power to spend non-functional permanent endowment on mixed-purpose investments.

Law Commissioner Professor Cooke said: “New initiatives around social investment are raising a number of questions for charities. As part of our current project examining selected issues in charity law, and within the parameters of the current law on private benefit, we will explore options for law reform to clarify charity trustees’ powers and duties in relation to mixed-purpose investments. We expect to open a consultation on the project in summer 2014, and will welcome stakeholders’ views on all of the questions under consideration.”

Fiduciary Duties of Investment Intermediaries

22 October 2013

Consultation reviewing the obligations on investment intermediaries to act in the interests of savers.

Modernising wildlife law

15 October 2013

We have released an interim statement, setting out our initial thinking on the scope and content of the new regulatory regime for wildlife.

Draft Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Bill

26 September 2013

In a consultation launched today, the Law Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission invite comments on the draft Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Bill as it stands at 26 September 2013.

Level Crossings

25 September 2013

In a report published today, we recommend reforms to the law to improve the safety regime for level crossings, provide a new procedure for the compulsory closure of level crossings and clarify rights of way across railways.

Data Sharing between Public Bodies

16 September 2013

The Law Commission is reviewing the current legal framework on data sharing between public bodies to identify whether the perceived obstacles are such as would require changes in the law to overcome.

Consumer Redress for Misleading and Aggressive Practices

06 August 2013

Government has announced its intention to implement the reforms recommended in our report, Consumer Redress for Misleading and Aggressive Practices, published jointly with the Scottish Law Commission in 2012.

Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Bill

30 July 2013

The Inheritance and Trustees' Powers Bill was introduced into the House of Lords today, implementing the majority of the reforms we recommended in our report Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death.

Insanity and Automatism

23 July 2013

We have published a discussion paper examining the rules governing the defences of insanity and automatism.

12th Programme of Law Reform

02 July 2013

We have launched a consultation, seeking ideas for projects for our next Programme of Law Reform.

Hate crime – should the aggravated and stirring-up hatred offences be extended?

27 June 2013

Launch of a consultation asking whether there is a case for reforming the law so that existing hate crime offences apply in the same way to sexual orientation, transgender identity and disability as well as race and religion.

Law Commission welcomes Draft Consumer Rights Bill

12 June 2013

The Law Commission welcomes the new Consumer Rights Bill published today, which incorporates many of our recommendations.

Law Commissioner Frances Patterson QC appointed to the High Court

24 May 2013

Law Commissioner Frances Patterson QC has been appointed to be a Justice of the High Court. Welcoming the announcement, Sir David Lloyd Jones, Chairman of the Law Commission, said: "I am delighted at the announcement this morning that Frances Patterson QC has been appointed a Justice of the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division, with effect from 1 October 2013. This news has brought great pleasure to all her colleagues at the Law Commission, tempered only by our sadness at her departure from the Commission where, as Commissioner leading the public law team, she has driven forward a number of particularly demanding projects with great skill. We are very grateful to her for her outstanding contribution to the Commission and all join in sending her our warmest congratulations."

Introduction into Parliament of the Care Bill

09 May 2013

Following its announcement in the Queen's Speech on 8 May 2013, the Care Bill was introduced into the House of Lords by Earl Howe on 9 May 2013. The Bill implements almost all the recommendations we made in our 2011 report on Adult Social Care.

Reforming the law for adult social care

08 May 2013

The Care Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech on 8 May 2013.

As well as dealing with the Dilnot Commission recommendations on funding, the Bill implements important Law Commission law reform recommendations.

Law Commissioner Frances Patterson QC says: "We are delighted that the Care Bill has been announced in the Queen’s Speech. The Bill implements almost all of the recommendations that we made in our 2011 report on adult social care. These include streamlining and modernising a system that still has its roots in the poor law, clarifying rights and responsibilities for older and disabled people and local councils, and improving the position of carers.

"The recommendations place the individual at the heart of a reformed legal framework for adult social care. We consulted extensively on our proposed reforms. From the start, they received a great deal of support from the people who use adult social care services and the individuals and organisations who design and provide those services.

"We are very pleased that the government has accepted our thinking and acted so swiftly to implement these important and much-needed reforms.”

A Bill to implement our recommended reforms to adult social care is currently before the National Assembly in Wales.

Patents, trade marks and design rights: groundless threats

17 April 2013

We are consulting on the groundless threats of infringement and asking whether they are causing problems and, if so, how they can be brought up to date.

Unfitness to Plead

10 April 2013

We have published an analysis of responses to the provisional proposals put forward in our consultation paper on Unfitness to Plead.

Renting Homes in Wales

09 April 2013

We are recommending reforms to the rented housing market in Wales that would introduce two new, uniform contracts for the social and private housing sectors

Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles

09 April 2013

In an interim statement, we have announced our early thinking on reforms for the taxi and private hire trades.

Conservation Covenants

28 March 2013

We have opened a consultation asking whether England and Wales should adopt conservation covenants.

Fiduciary Duties of Investment Intermediaries

26 March 2013

We have started work on this new project investigating what the current law requires pension trustees, investment managers and other financial intermediaries to consider in deciding an investment strategy.

Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death

21 March 2013

Government has accepted, in part, the recommendations we made in our report Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death.

Unfair terms in consumer contracts

19 March 2013

The Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission have today recommended reforms to provide better protection for consumers from unfair charges in small print.

Electronic Communications Code

28 February 2013

We are recommending reforms that will bring the Electronic Communications Code up to date with modern technology while continuing to balance the rights of landowners and the public demand for modern communications services.

Rights to light consultation

18 February 2013

We are seeking views on how the law related to rights to light can provide an appropriate balance between the important interests of landowners and the need to facilitate the appropriate development of land.

Royal Assent for Law Commission reforms

31 January 2013

The Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2013 and the Trust (Capital and Income) Act 2013 received Royal Assent on 31 January 2013. Both pieces of legislation derive from Law Commission reports.

Law Commission under review

09 January 2013

The Secretary of State today announced a review of the Law Commission.

The review is part of a rolling three-year Cabinet Office programme designed to assess the form, function and governance of non-departmental public bodies.

Chairman of the Law Commission, Sir David Lloyd Jones, said: “This review provides us with a welcome opportunity to hear from many of the people and organisations who have a stake in our law reform work and learn from them what they think of the Law Commission and the way in which we conduct our business. It will give the Commission itself a valuable opportunity to set before Government and the citizen the vital work we do in keeping the law of England and Wales as fair, modern, simple and cost effective as possible.

“We encourage all our stakeholders to participate in this review.

“Triennial Reviews are part of the process by which Government departments scrutinise arms’-length bodies. We have been working with the Ministry of Justice on their preparations for this review and will continue to work closely with them as it progresses.”

The consultation is open from 9 January until 6 February 2013.

Statute Law (Repeals) Bill passed

07 January 2013

The Statute Law (Repeals) Bill, which derives from our 19th Statute Law Repeals report, completes its passage through Parliament.

Trusts (Capital and Income) Bill passed

07 January 2013

The Trusts (Capital and Income) Bill has passed through all its parliamentary stages and is awaiting Royal Assent. The Bill derives from our report: Capital and Income in Trusts: Classification and Apportionment.

Scandalising the Court

19 December 2012

We have recommended to Government that the offence of scandalising the court should be abolished and not replaced.

Hate Crime - review of aggravated offences and stirring up hatred offences

14 December 2012

We have started a new project to consider whether two existing groups of offences dealing with hate crime should be extended.

Reforming electoral law in the UK

11 December 2012

Publication of a report setting out the scope of a forthcoming review of UK electoral law. Conducted jointly with the Scottish Law Commission and the Northern Ireland Law Commission, the review aims to reform the law relating to elections and referendums across the UK.

Contempt of Court

28 November 2012

Launch of a consultation to ask whether the existing law on contempt of court continues to work effectively in light of the challenges posed by new media and the way these are used by the mainstream press and, increasingly, by citizen journalists.

Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements

11 September 2012

Following our 2012 consultation on marital property agreements (“pre-nups”), we have opened a supplementary consultation on needs and non-matrimonial property.

Wildlife

14 August 2012

Launch of a consultation relating the law governing the management of wildlife.

Scandalising the Court

10 August 2012

We have launched a consultation asking whether the offence of scandalising the court should be abolished or retained but modified and, if so, how.

Protecting consumers from unfair terms in contracts

25 July 2012

The Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission are consulting on proposals to protect consumers from unfair terms hidden in small print.

Insanity and automatism - a call for evidence

18 July 2012

Launch of a scoping exercise to establish how, in the criminal law of England and Wales, the defences of insanity and automatism are working, if at all.

 

Government implements Law Commission Adult Social Care recommendations

11 July 2012

The Government has published a response to the recommendations we made in our Adult Social Care report and has issued a draft Care and Support Bill that substantially implements our recommendations.

Electronic Communications Code consultation

28 June 2012

Consultation seeking views on how the Electronic Communications Code is working for those who use it, and what can be done to make it more transparent and user-friendly.

Reforming the duty of disclosure in business insurance, and bringing warranty law up to date

26 June 2012

consultation from the Law Commission and Scottish Law Commission proposing a new law to make clear what businesses must tell insurers when they buy insurance and asking whether the law of warranties requires updating.

Law Commission Annual Report 2011-12

21 June 2012

Our 46th Annual Report, charting the challenges and achievements of 2011-12. The final report from Sir James Munby as Chairman of the Commission.

Bringing electoral law up to date

15 June 2012

We have launched a consultation on electoral law, seeking views on which of the rules governing elections and referendums should be reviewed.

Taxis and private hire services

10 May 2012

We invite comments on the provisional proposals in our consultation paper.

New Chairman

26 April 2012

We welcome the appointment of our new Chairman, the Honourable Mr Justice Lloyd Jones, with effect from 1 August 2012.

19th Statute Law (Repeals) report

04 April 2012

A report recommending the repeal of more than 800 old laws that are cluttering up the statute book. Our statute book is littered with dead law from down the centuries. Obsolete provisions from the 1600s and earlier continue to survive long after they have ceased to serve any useful purpose.

Consumer Redress for Misleading and Aggressive Practices

28 March 2012

In a report published today, we are recommending that consumers should have a new legal right of redress against traders that carry out misleading or aggressive practices.

Regulation of Health Care Professionals and Regulation of Social Care Professionals in England

01 March 2012

In a consultation opening today, the Law Commissions of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are seeking views on how the regulation of health care professionals in the UK and social workers in England can be made clearer, simpler, more modern and more consistent.

Clarifying the law on financial provision for couples when relationships end

06 February 2012

The Law Commission is to conduct a targeted review of two aspects of the law that entitles married couples and civil partners to claim financial provision from one another on divorce or dissolution of their partnership.

Insurance Contract Law: Post-contract Duties and other Issues

20 December 2011

In this consultation we examine a number of areas of insurance contract law that impact on small businesses and families.

Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death

14 December 2011

In this report, we make recommendations to bring inheritance law into line with the needs and expectations of modern families, and simplify the law to help the bereaved deal with the property of a deceased family member.

Leslie Scarman lecture, 25 January 2012

09 December 2011

The Law Commission is pleased to announce that Justice Edwin Cameron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa will be giving the 4th Leslie Scarman lecture, "What you can do with rights", in London on 25 January 2012.

Simplification of the Criminal Law: Kidnapping

28 September 2011

The Law Commission today opens a consultation to clarify the law on kidnapping. Under the existing law it is not enough simply for a victim to be taken away – a number of other conditions need to be met, and several parts of the definition are ambiguous.

Eleventh Programme of Law Reform

19 July 2011

The Commission has published its Eleventh Programme of Law Reform, which will form a substantial part of our work for the next three years. We will also continue to work on projects from previous programmes, as well as projects referred by Ministers, advice to Government, statute law repeals and consolidation of legislation. See Work of the Law Commission 2011-2015.

Public Services Ombudsmen

14 July 2011

In a report published today, the Commission recommends reforms to the five public services ombudsmen that will make it easier for citizens to complain if they receive poor public services.

Easements, covenants and profits à prendre

08 June 2011

In a report published today, the Law Commission recommends reforms that will simplify and clarify the laws that govern relationships between neighbouring plots of land.  The Commission’s proposals will make it easier for the people who develop, mortgage, sell and buy land to identify and manage the rights and responsibilities that attach to it.

Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Bill introduced

17 May 2011

The Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Bill was introduced into Parliament on 16 May 2011. Originating from our joint project with the Scottish Law Commission, the Bill clarifies the law that governs what consumers should tell insurers when they take out a policy.

Law Commission recommends radical overhaul of adult social care law

11 May 2011

In a report published today, the Commission is recommending the most far-reaching reforms of adult social care law seen for over 60 years.

Consumer Redress for Misleading and Aggressive Practices

12 April 2011

We invite comments on the proposals in our consultation paper.

Adult Social Care Consultation Analysis

31 March 2011

We have published an analysis of responses to the 57 provisional proposals put forward in our consultation paper.

Expert Evidence in Criminal Proceedings

22 March 2011

Following our recent consultation exercise, we have published a report recommending changes in the law relating to the admissibility of expert evidence in criminal proceedings.