find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
ALRC in dire need of funding

ALRC in dire need of funding

The Australian Law Reform Commission is in dire need of funding, a Senate Inquiry has found.

THE Australian Law Reform Commission is in dire need of funding, a Senate Inquiry has found. 

After a Senate inquiry into the ALRC, a report released 8 April recommends that the federal government restore the ALRC's budget cuts for the next few years "as a matter of urgency". 

The ALRC's budget was cut by $242,000 in the 2010-11 financial year and by $495,000 annually in previous years. 

As a result of the cuts, the ALRC could only afford to have one full-time commissioner, president Rosalind Croucher, its education outreach program was discontinued and travel expenditure was reduced. 

The report recommends that the ALRC Act be amended to provide for a minimum of two standing, fixed-term, full-time commissioners, and that an additional full-time commissioner be appointed for each additional inquiry referred to the ALRC when the ALRC already has two or more ongoing inquiries. 

It recommends the ALRC's public information and education services program be resumed immediately, and that the LARC be provided with all necessary resources to enable it to continue to travel to undertake face-to-face consultations as part of its inquiry process. 

The report states: "As [ALRC president Professor Rosalind Croucher] stated, the appointment of an inquiry-specific full-time commissioner is 'better than nowt'. However, in the committee's view, the appointment of standing fixed-term full-time commissioners is imperative to the operation of the ALRC. The ALRC needs to be led by specialists in law reform, and it needs to retain this intellectual capital.

The report scrutinised the adequacy of the ALRC's staffing and resources, and appropriate allocation of functions between the ALRC and other statutory agencies were weighed up.

Senator Guy Barnett, Liberal senator for Tasmania and chair of the Senate Committee that conducted the inquiry, said the inquiry, the first in 17 years, was timely. 

“Over the last three years the ALRC’s resources have been stripped disproportionately to government outlays, which is putting serious law reform at risk in this country,” he said.

Barnett said the ALRC has reportedly suffered staff turnover of close to 100 per cent over the past year, “raising serious concerns about stability within the Commission”.  

Speaking ahead of the inquiry, he said: “There are also questions over whether the ALRC is complying with its charter which sets out the minimum number of full time commissioners."

“Having fewer Commissioners and resources has diminished the capacity of the Commission, which the Government confirmed is now barely able to handle two inquiries at once.”

SenatorJoseph Ludwig, the Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, responded that the work of the Australian Law Reform Commission as  regarded as “important to a vibrant and sustainable legal system”.

Ludwig said the government is confident that the commission's current level of membership is “sufficient to carry out its important work”.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

ALRC in dire need of funding
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Queensland University of Technology, ruby milestone
Queensland law school reaches ruby milestone
Celebrating 40 years since establishing a law course in 1977, the Queensland University of Technolog...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...