Criteria for community law reform projects

We invite any person or community group with an idea for a community law project to read through the criteria below and make their submission.

The key principle to understand is that community law reform projects address legal issues of general community concern that are small enough to have a relatively straightforward solution. Due to our limited resources, the Commission cannot take on every law reform idea suggested to us and, generally, we can only work on one project at a time. Nevertheless, every suggestion adds to the Commission’s understanding of the legal issues experienced by Victorians and may suggest areas for further research.

In those cases where your law reform idea does not fit our criteria or we do not have resources to undertake the project, we will inform you of other organisations and bodies that may have an interest in the issue.

In creating the selection criteria below, the Commission was bound by the provisions of the Law Reform Commission Act 2000, especially Section 5(1)(b) that sets out the functions of the Commission.

Selection criteria

In deciding whether to undertake a community law reform project the Commission considers the following:

  1. The area in which the law applies: The Commission can only make recommendations about state laws. For more information on what is covered by state law and what is covered by federal law, visit the websites of the Victorian Government and the Australian Government.
  2. The scope of the community law reform project: This includes the complexity of the legal issues raised, the amount of research required, and the amount of legal change that may be needed. The Commission can only take on community law reform projects that deal with relatively small changes to the law. The project must be such as to justify a community consultation process.
  3. Community consensus: Complex and controversial subjects or areas of law that do not have strong community consensus will generally not fit within community law reform projects. These types of issues require significant consultation and public debate to resolve. This is better suited to a government initiated reference or inquiry.
  4. The law reform proposal’s likely public benefit: The Commission is interested in projects that will fix problems with the law that affect a significant proportion of the population or address problems faced by significantly disadvantaged members of the community.
  5. Community involvement: If you are a community group putting forward a law reform idea, the Commission would like to know how you have consulted with people to check your proposal meets their needs. We would also like to know how you will keep people informed and involved if the law reform idea is accepted as a community law reform project by the Commission.
  6. The prospects of success for the reform proposal: Community law reform projects must provide a simple, effective solution to an anomaly, inequity or gap in the law.
  7. The resources and time needed to undertake the community law reform project: The legislation governing the Commission requires that community law reform projects must not require significant resources.
  8. Avoiding duplication: If the law has recently been considered by Parliament or is currently being reviewed, or likely to be reviewed by government, the Commission will not undertake the project. If your law reform idea better suits consideration by another law reform organisation, we will inform you of who to approach. 

So, if you think your idea fits the criteria, please complete the online suggestion form

Or contact us

Mail: Community Law Reform Manager, Victorian Law Reform Commission, Box 4637, GPO Melbourne Vic 3001
Fax: (03) 8608 7888

If you would like to discuss your idea before making an application please call us on (03) 8608 7800 and ask for the Community Law Reform Manager.

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