European Journal of Law Reform

Article

Prologue: The IALS Law Reform Project

Keywords statute, common law, codification, consolidation, implementation
Authors Jonathan Teasdale
Author's information

300197 Jonathan Teasdale
LL.B, LL.M, Barrister (England and Wales), FRSA. Presently associate research fellow in the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London) specializing in law reform, and formerly a lawyer with the Law Commission for England and Wales.
  • Abstract

      Law, particularly enacted law, needs to be as simple and as accessible as possible, clear and concise and – perhaps above all – fit for the purposes of modern society. Laws passed in one decade may prove to be less than adequate for the needs of later generations because of changes in the social fabric or social mores or because of technological advance or economic challenge. Societies needs mechanisms for keeping law under review, particularly when governments are focused on introducing more law – sometimes layered on top of existing law – to fulfil electoral promises. The position is compounded in common law systems where the senior judiciary add to the legal corpus.
      Different jurisdictions have differing needs. The IALS Law Reform Project (at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London) has set itself the task of identifying the range of law reform mechanisms employed across the common law and civil law worlds with a view to establishing which of the components are core, and identifying others which could be improved. The starting point, of course, is: what is law reform? Are reform and revision the same? Does reform need to be legislative? Why does codification work in civil law jurisdictions but is eschewed in parts of the common law world? This is about the processes of law reform; substantive reform is for another day.

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