Mechanics Of Law Reform

Publication Date01 Jan 1961
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1961.tb00651.x
AuthorNoël Hutton
MECHANICS
OF
LAW
REFORM
TEE Law Reform Committee and its predecessor the Law Revision
Committee have issued to date some sixteen reports scoring up
some ten marks on the Statute Book. Brief particulars of the
reports in question, and of the relevant enactments, are set out in
the Appendix
to
Professor Wade’s article. From this
it
appears
that the only recommendations to which effect has not been given
to date are those Eelating to the doctrine of consideration;
perpetuities
;
conditions and exceptions in insurance policies
;
and
the effects of tax liability on damages. The object of the following
notes is to describe the mechanics by which the remaining recom-
mendations have been carried into effect by the preparation and
enactment of the necessary Bills.
All the reports of the two Committees have one common feature,
namely that the recommendations have not been framed in the
form of draft Bills nor (at all events expressly) in the form of draft
clauses for incorporation in a Bill. Accordingly, the process of
preparing the necessary legislation has followed the normal proce-
dure applicable to other Government legislation which, very briefly,
is as follows.
Government Bills are drafted (subject to minor exceptions not
material to these notes) by the Parliamentary Counsel to the
Treasury, acting on the instructions of one
or
more of the adminis-
trative departments of state. The Office of the Parliamentary
Counsel was set up in
1869
with the object of improving the form
and harmonising the style
of
parliamentary Bills promoted by the
Government. Before that time (although there had been earlier
experiments in the same direction) any department who had occa-
sion to promote a Bill either drafted
it
themselves
or
went
to
the
Bar for
it.
reads curiously today
:
The process described in Jacob’s
Law
Dictionary
‘‘
Public bills
or
acts
of
parliament are commonly drawn,
such as relate
to
taxes,
or
other matters of Government, by
the several public boards, according
to
their respective juris-
dictions; others by such members of the House of Commons as
are most inclined to effect the good of the public, particularly
in relation to the bill designed, taking advice thereupon; and
acts for the revival, repeal
or
continuance
of
statutes,
or
other
legal matters, are framed by lawyers, members of the house,
appointed for that purpose.
“The persons directed to bring in the bill present it in a
competent time to the house, drawn out on paper with a multi-
tude of blanks,
or
void spaces, where anything occurs that is
1
4th ed.,
1835,
title
Parliament.”
18

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