South Australia is at last catching up to the rest of Australia with the announcement that a Law Reform Institute is to be established for the first time in more than twenty years.
South Australia hasn't had a Law Reform Institute since the late 1980s and is the only jurisdiction in Australia which currently doesn't have one.
Attorney-General John Rau announced plans for the institute today (7 December), which he says will assist in the streamlining of South Australian laws and the management of state justice.
The Attorney-General's Department will work collaboratively with the South Australian Law Society (SALS) and the University of Adelaide to establish what will be known as the South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI).
"The South Australian Law Reform Institute, and its members, will play a key role in improving the administration of justice in South Australia," said Rau.
"The Institute will help modernise, simplify and consolidate laws and the administration of the justice system and, in doing so, improve access to justice for the community."
Rau said the institute will also aim to repeal laws which are obsolete or unnecessary, and consult and collaborate with law reform agencies in other states and territories on proposals to reform laws in other jurisdictions or within the Commonwealth.
Professor James McWha, vice-chancellor and president of the University of Adelaide, has welcomed the establishment of the institute, which he says is "much-needed".
"Law reform helps us look well beyond where we are today. We want to look to the future and the needs of our changing community. The institute will allow us to explore our legal framework and seek opportunities to improve it for the good of all South Australians," he said.
President of the SALS Ralph Bonig also welcomed the move, hinting that it is long overdue.
"We have been pressing the government for some time for the establishment of such an institute," he said.
"It will be an important instrument of change and a source of creative, innovative and critical thinking in such areas as the modernisation and simplification of the law."
The SALRI will be governed by a Board, consisting of members to be appointed next year by various facets of the legal community, which will consider, recommend and review proposals for projects to be undertaken by the Institute.