Law reform in other jurisdictions

A round-up of current and recent law reform activities outside Victoria, from law reform agencies interstate and beyond.

Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC)1 May 2023: The Government has announced it will establish an Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into justice responses to sexual violence, with a focus on law reform proposals to strengthen sexual assault laws and improve the outcomes and experiences of victims and survivors in the justice system.
Review of the Legislative Framework for Corporations and Financial Services Regulation: a third interim report is due by 25 August 2023 and a final consolidated report by 30 November 2023.
Religious Educational Institutions and Anti-Discrimination Laws: The ALRC released a Consultation Paper on 27 January 2023, and submissions closed on 24 February 2023. In light of the large volume of submissions received, the ALRC requested an extension to its reporting deadline. This extension was confirmed on 20 April 2023, with amended Terms of Reference extending the date for reporting to 31 December 2023.
NSW Law Reform Commission

Review of Serious Road Crime was announced in November 2022. Submissions closed 17 Feb 2023 and preliminary submissions have now been published.
Queensland Law Reform CommissionThe Queensland Law Reform Commission has completed its report on a framework for a decriminalised sex work industry in Queensland. The report was tabled on 24 April 2024. The 2-volume report, entitled A decriminalised sex-work industry for Queensland (Report No 80), and a report summary are available.
South Australian Law Reform InstituteReview of the Mental Health Act 2009 report was submitted to government at the end of February and  published on April 19 2023.
Tasmania Law Reform InstituteThe Tasmania Law Reform Institute has been tasked with examining the state’s legal protections around privacy. On 2 May 2023 the Institute released an issues paper, Review of Privacy Laws in Tasmania.
Law Reform Commission of Western AustraliaSexual Offences: In February 2023 the Law Reform Commission released Volume 1 (Objectives, Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Volume 2 (Offences and Maximum Penalties) of a Discussion Paper that outline options and poses questions about changing Western Australia’s sexual offence laws.
Te Aka Matua o te Ture/ NZ Law Commission8 May 2023: Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission has published an Issues Paper inviting public submissions on how the Evidence Act 2006 is operating in practice.  
The Commission is reviewing how the law should respond when an adult’s decision-making is affected. Submissions closed in March 2023.
Sex, gender and discrimination: in January 2023 the Commission commenced a project to review the protections in the Human Rights Act 1993 for transgender people, non-binary people and people with diverse sex characteristics.
The Commission has also been asked to undertake a review of legal responses to hate speech.
UK Law CommissionIn May 2023 the Commission released a consultation paper, Evidence in Sexual Offences Prosecutions. In particular, views are sought on ways to counter rape myths in sexual offence trials.
20th April 2023: Social Care for Disabled Children. The Law Commission of England and Wales has been asked by the Department for Education to review the legal framework governing the social care of disabled children to ensure that the law is fair, modern and accessible, allowing children with disabilities to access the support they need.
4th April 2023: The Law Commission of England and Wales has launched a review of the laws which determine how finances are divided among couples after divorce. The project will consider the use of financial remedy orders: orders for financial provision between couples at the end of their marriage or civil partnership. Financial remedy orders are governed by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
29 March 2023: Surrogacy Laws. The Law Commission has published a report and draft legislation for Government to improve outdated surrogacy laws. The report outlines a new regulatory regime that offers more clarity, safeguards and support  for the child, surrogate and parents who will raise the child (“the intended parents”).

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