Our law reform process
The NSW Law Reform Commission provides legal policy advice to Government on issues that are referred to us by the Attorney General. Below are the steps that we follow when undertaking a review of the law. We generally follow this format, but the process can vary depending on the scope of the review, the complexity of the law, and the time we have to complete the review.
Step 1 - We receive the reference
The NSW Attorney General refers a matter to us for review. This is known as a reference. The Attorney General also provides the "terms of reference" that specify the scope of the review.
Step 2 - We conduct initial research and consultation
In order to identify the key issues, we research the law, conduct literature reviews, and engage with people affected by the law. At this stage, we may invite people to make a "preliminary submission", in which they can suggest issues that we need to address in our review (within our terms of reference).
Step 3 - We release consultation papers
We release consultation papers which provide background information, discuss key issues, and present options for reform. Often the consultation papers will contain questions to guide submissions.
Step 4 - We call for submissions
We invite submissions in response to each consultation paper. Submissions are people's ideas, opinions, and experiences about the law under review. Through the submission process, we can gauge what people think about the current laws. Anybody can make a submission.
Step 5 - We conduct face-to-face consultation
Consultation allows us to obtain views and opinions from stakeholders. We host consultation sessions with members of the community who are affected by the law, or who have experience with the law. We also consult interest groups, experts, NGOs, and Government agencies.
Step 6 - We produce a final report
We consider our research, the submissions, and the views of stakeholders to produce a final report that makes recommendations for reform. We then provide the report to the Attorney General.
The final steps
Once the Attorney General has tabled the report in Parliament, the NSW Government will decide whether to implement the recommendations through legislation or administrative action.