About community law reform
One of the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s functions is to examine, report and make recommendations to the Attorney-General on any matter the Commission considers of general community concern. These community law reform projects, which are separate from those initiated by the Attorney-General, deal with relatively minor issues which, nevertheless, deeply affect the lives of Victorians. In the past, we have examined the laws around residential tenancy databases, funeral and burial instructions, assistance animals, birth registration and birth certificates, and the support of young people in police interviews. Recently, we have picked our way through the legal tangles of neighbourhood tree disputes. Our recommendations have led to many important changes in the law.
Overwhelmingly, these projects have originated from suggestions from the public. All Victorians, by merely going about our daily lives, can become involved in legal issues, and some of our experiences will make us wish our laws were simpler, clearer or fairer. Some laws won’t seem to have kept pace with society’s changing attitudes and expectations. Others seem needlessly convoluted and unweildy. Therefore, we believe that community law reform projects best emerge out of the concerns of members of the community who will most benefit from the laws’ reform.
Anyone can suggest a community law reform project. We welcome suggestions from individuals, community groups, businesses and legal professionals. The project must involve changes to the law that are limited in scope yet of general benefit to the community. If you have an idea for a project, it is simply a matter of filling the online form. Or you can e-mail or send us a letter.
But, before doing that, you should check our criteria for projects to make sure your project is something we can take on. And perhaps look at previous projects (click the links below) to get a better idea of how we go about examining an area of community law.
With our limited resources, the Commission can only work on one community law reform project at a time, and we can’t take on every law reform idea suggested to us. But all suggestions give us valuable information about how the laws of Victoria affect citizens and may suggest further areas for review.
Completed community law reform projects
- Assistance animals
- Birth registration and birth certificates
- Failure to appear in court in response to bail
- Funeral and burial instructions
- Neighbourhood tree disputes
- Photographing and filming tenants possessions for advertising purposes
- Residential tenancy databases
- Supporting young people in police interviews