Critics’ Reviews

This wide-ranging series of essays [is] a unique collection of works focusing upon high-minded and practical elements of law reform alike. The somewhat selfish conception of law reform from the perspective of a lobby group is in line with one meaning of reform – a change for the better. And so the central question posed in the mind of this reader is change for what end and for whose benefit as a result of law reform? Answers to that question are found in a number of these generally very well written essays …

Ultimately how you assess law reform will be based upon the outcome, the change for the better, that you seek. For an exegesis on ways and means to get there (whatever your own answer to the central question) read this book. – Ethos (Law Society ACT), June 2006

Thirty chapters, each by a different author, describe almost every aspect of institutional law reform, and the chapters are grouped accordingly: history, function, design, methods and outcomes. These are supplemented by a group of chapters on other methods of law reform, and a group of chapters on current issues for law reform institutions around the world.

Overall, the chapters describe rather than analyse. They tell a reader how law reform is done, and they speculate on how it might be done better. For that alone the book is valuable, and unique in its coverage of all the issues in one text. But the book’s celebratory genesis has resulted in limited and ad hoc critical self-reflection, on either the ALRC or the idea of institutional law reform.

… Nor are more fundamental questions about the very idea of law reform directly addressed by the book. …

Although light on analysis, the book is a treasure trove of information about how law reform has been done, is done and could be done by specialist institutions. From research and strategic planning to community participation and media relations, from interagency cooperation and measures of success to legal education and issues in comparable jurisdictions, the book is an essential reference on the operation of institutional law reform. – Alternative Law Journal Vol 32(2) June 2007

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