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The law-making process in England and Wales
The law-making process in England and Wales

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5.4 Agencies of reform

There are various agencies of reform, such as the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which monitor and evaluate current legislation. This independent body was created by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. The CCRC monitors and reviews any possible miscarriages of justice and reviews the legal rules and process dealing with criminal cases. The Law Commission is another independent agency of reform which was created through a piece of legislation, the Law Commission Act 1965: the Law Commission monitors and reviews the law. It puts forward proposals to reform the law where there is a current problem with legislation or a need to introduce new legislation. The Law Commission tries to ensure that the law is fair, cost-effective and up-to-date with current practice. The Law Commission produces a number of papers which are referred to as Command Papers. These papers outline the current law (legislation), any perceived problems, recommendations and draft legislation for any changes to be implemented.

Activity 5 Evaluating and monitoring the law

Look at the ‘Forfeiture Rule and the Law of Succession’ consultation on the Law Commission [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] website. To access this once you are on the website, click on the ‘Consultations’ tab and then on ‘A–Z of consultations’. This will provide you with a number of topics which have been reviewed or are under current review. Click ‘F’ and then click ‘Forfeiture Rule and the Law of Succession’. You only need to read the first page of this project, which will provide you with some information about the report and what might be considered to be wrong with the law.

In no more than 200 words, explain the role of the Law Commission and provide some information about the Forfeiture (Succession) Report.

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The role of the Law Commission is to monitor and review the law. It undertakes a review of a specific subject area and through a consultation paper consults with the public and professional bodies by seeking views and advice. The Law Commission produce a report, referred to as a command paper, which outlines the current legal rules and identifies any potential problems. They then put forward a number of recommendations and include a draft piece of legislation for the government to consider. The government then arranges for this draft legislation to be introduced into Parliament for debate by both Houses.

The Forfeiture Rule and the Law of Succession Report would have informed you that:

There is a rule of law, known as the forfeiture rule, which states that a person may not inherit from someone whom he or she has unlawfully killed. In 2000 the Court of Appeal decided that the forfeiture rule, when applied alongside the rules on intestate succession, disinherits not only the killer, but also the killer’s descendants.

(Law Commission, n.d.)

You are informed at the beginning of the report that the recommendations of the Law Commission have been accepted by Parliament and have now been implemented through new legislation: the Estate of Deceased Persons (Forfeiture Rule and Law of Succession) Act 2011.