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Law reform or legal reform is the process of examining existing
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
s, and advocating and implementing change in a
legal system The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems A system is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and infl ...
, usually with the aim of enhancing
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
or efficiency. Intimately related are law reform bodies or
law commissions Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has bee ...
, which are organizations set up to facilitate law reform. Law reform bodies carry out research and recommend ways to simplify and modernize the law. Many law reform bodies are
statutory corporation A statutory corporation is a statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gatherin ...
s set up by governments, although they are usually independent from government control, providing intellectual independence to accurately reflect and report on how the law should progress. Law reform activities can include preparation and presentation of cases in
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Sta ...

court
in order to change the
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
;
lobbying In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of socia ...

lobbying
of
government official An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate Mandate most often refers to: * League of Nations mandates, quasi-colonial territories established under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, 28 June 1919 * Mandate ( ...

government official
s in order to change
legislation Legislation is the process or product of enrolled bill, enrolling, enactment of a bill, enacting, or promulgation, promulgating law by a legislature, parliament, or analogous Government, governing body. Before an item of legislation becomes law ...
; and
research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may be an expa ...
or
writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...
that helps to establish an empirical basis for other law reform activities. The four main methods in reforming law are
repeal A repeal (O.F. ''rapel'', modern ''rappel'', from ''rapeler'', ''rappeler'', revoke, ''re'' and ''appeler'', appeal) is the removal or reversal of a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated ele ...
(get rid of a law), creation of new law, consolidation (change existing law) and
codification Codification may refer to: *Codification (law), the process of preparing and enacting a legal code *Codification (linguistics), the process of selecting, developing and prescribing a model for standard language usage *Accounting Standards Codificati ...
.


Definition

The expression "law reform" is used in a number of senses and some of these are close to being wholly incompatible with each other. In the Law Reform Commission Act 1975, the expression "reform" includes, in relation to the law or a branch of the law, its development, its codification (including in particular its simplification and modernisation) and the revision and consolidation of
statute law Statutory law or statute law is written law passed by a body of legislature. This is as opposed to Oral law, oral or customary law; or regulatory law promulgated by the Executive (government), executive or common law of the judiciary. Statutes may ...
, and kindred words must be construed accordingly.


Correlation with judicial reform

Judicial reform is the complete or partial political reform of a country's judiciary. Judicial reform is often done as a part of wider reform of the country's political system or a legal reform. The President of the
Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (russian: Конституционный Суд Российской Федерации) is a high court within the judiciary of Russia The Judiciary of Russia interprets and applies the law of ...
, Valery Zorkin, gives in his article, "Twelve Theses on Legal Reform in Russia", first published in Russian magazine ''Legislation and Economics'', N. 2, 2004 an explained correlation between legal and judicial reform: "Complete legal reform should normally include not only judicial reform, but also reform of various aspects of the structural system and content of legislation, legal education,
legal awareness Legal awareness, sometimes called public legal education, is the Empowerment#Legal, empowerment of individuals regarding issues involving the law.

Relation with economics

Legal reform can be the driver for all other reforms, including reform of the economy. A true market economy cannot be created without ensuring both full guarantees of private property and transparent predictability for entrepreneurial activity, on the one hand; and sufficiently reasonable legal control over economic processes, on the other hand. Legal reform should be an integral part of any on-going reform process. Legal reform is a tool for implementing necessary reforms, to balance competing interests, create a dynamic and sustainable economy, and build a sustainable
civil society Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment ...
. During last decades the judiciary became active in economic issues related with economic rights established by constitution because "economics may provide insight into questions that bear on the proper legal interpretation". Since many a country with a transitional political and economic system continues treating its constitution as an abstract legal document disengaged from the economic policy of the state, practice of judicial review of economic acts of executive and legislative branches became to grow. The budget of the judiciary in many transitional and developing countries is completely controlled by the executive. The latter undermines the separation of powers, as it creates a critical financial dependence of the judiciary. The proper national wealth distribution including the government spending on the judiciary is subject of the
constitutional economics A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated el ...
. It is important to distinguish between the two methods of
corruption Corruption is a form of dishonesty Dishonesty is to act without honesty ''Diogenes Searching for an Honest Man'', attributed to J. H. W. Tischbein () Honesty or truthfulness is a facet Facets () are flat faces on geometric shapes. The org ...
of the judiciary: the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine ''State Magazine'' is a digital magazine published by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Global Talent Management. Its mission is to acquaint Department o ...
(through budget planning and various privileges), and the private.


Russian example

In modern Russia, aspects and directions of development of judicial reform were formulated in the Judicial Reform Concept, enacted by the Russian Parliament on October 24, 1991. This document still remains legally valid and applicable. Valery Zorkin stressed that "the
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ...
principle, also proclaimed in the
Constitution of the Russian Federation The Constitution of the Russian Federation () was adopted by national referendum on . Russia's constitution came into force on , at the moment of its official publication, and abolished the Soviet republic (system of government), Soviet syste ...
, requires observance of
judicial independence Judicial independence is the concept that the judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institut ...
. And such independence requires proper funding of the courts and their activities. It is well known that Russian courts remain under-funded. However, the cumulative economic costs suffered by both state and private enterprises as the result of under-performance by various judicial institutions, especially by the courts of general
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
and the arbitration courts, is at least twice the order of magnitude as the financial burden carried by the state and society in financing such judicial institutions. The elimination of under-funding of the courts would definitely improve the efficiency of their work and be worthwhile. Taking into account the specifics of historical developments in Russia, one may assert that without undertaking a large-scale legal reform it would be extremely difficult to succeed concurrently with judicial reform. It is necessary now to start unfolding a full-scale legal reform, which has to be completed by the year 2020. The official public presentation and implementation of such legal reform should become the prime responsibility of
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government) The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organiz ...
and
legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure ...
authorities. The program of legal reform needs to be adopted in the form of a legislative act.The World Rule of Law Movement and Russian Legal Reform
, edited by Francis Neate and Holly Nielsen, Justitsinform, Moscow (2007)


U.S. report, 2020

In April 2020, the
National Center for State Courts The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is a non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System issued a three-year report, "Transforming Our Civil Justice System for the 21st Century: The Road to Civil Justice Reform", which surmised that:


See also

*
Constitutionalism Constitutionalism is "a compound of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law". Political organizations are constitutional ...

Constitutionalism
*
Democratization Democratization, or democratisation, is the transition to a more democratic political regime In politics, a regime (also known as "régime", from the original French spelling) is the form of government or the set of rules, cultural or social n ...
*
Deregulation Deregulation is the process of removing or reducing state regulations, typically in the economic sphere. It is the repeal of governmental regulation of the economy. It became common in advanced industrial economies in the 1970s and 1980s, as a ...
*
Drug policy reformDrug policy reform, also known as drug law reform, is any proposed changes to the way government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad ...
*
Judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
*
Independence of the judiciaryJudicial independence is the concept that the judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or instituti ...
*
Liberalization Liberalization or Liberalisation (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification ...
*
Land reform Land reform is a form of agrarian reformAgrarian reform can refer either, narrowly, to government-initiated or government-backed redistribution of agricultural land Agricultural land is typically land ''devoted to'' agriculture Agricult ...

Land reform
*
Rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

Rule of law
*
Rule according to higher law The rule according to a higher law is a statement which expresses that no law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain universal principles (written or unwritten) of fairness, morality, and justice. Thus, ''the rule accor ...


Notes


References


"Economics and the Rule of Law"
''
The Economist ''The Economist'' is an international weekly newspaper A weekly newspaper is a general-news or current affairsCurrent affairs may refer to: Media * Current Affairs (magazine), ''Current Affairs'' (magazine), a bimonthly magazine of cult ...
'' (2008-03-13).


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Law Reform Philosophy of law