1.1 government may be influenced by organisations
in changing existing laws or making new ones.
1.2 may seek the advice of different
organisations to help it formulate its policy
2 Law commission (1)
2.1 Law Commission Act 1965 set up the
Law Commission as a permanent body.
2.2 It consists of five legal experts chosen from the judiciary,
legal profession and legal academics.
2.3 identify areas of law where reform
2.4 consolidate and modernise the law, for example the
Family Law Act 1996 changed the law on divorce
2.5 repeal obsolete laws
2.6 codify the law
3 Law Commission (2)
3.1 Law Commission’s role in repealing
obsolete legislation is more straightforward
3.2 The Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1998 repealed over
150 complete Acts of Parliament, which were outdated
3.3 Parliament is not always keen to find time
to pass the Law Commission’s draft bills,
e.g. the lengthy Draft Criminal Code.
4 Law Commission (3)
4.1 Around 70% of the Law Commission’s
proposals eventually become law, but a
lot of the work that it does is disregarded.
4.2 The government is not obliged to pass any
of the Law Commission’s recommendations
5 Royal Commission
5.1 Royal Commissions are groups of independent experts who are
asked to consider a specific area of concern in the law.
5.2 They are set up on an ad hoc basis and work part time
to investigate issues and then formulate their proposals.
5.3 Examples of Royal Commissions include the Runciman Commission,
the Pearson Commission 1978 and the Wakeham Commission.
6 other Influences
6.1 Public Inquires
6.1.1 Public inquiries are usually set up after a serious event or disaster,
e.g. the Taylor Report (set up after the Hillsborough disaster) and
the Cullen Report (set up after the Dunblane tragedy).
6.2.1 The media may campaign for a change in the law, e.g. reports concerning
pit bull terriers attacking children led to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
6.2.2 The campaign to ‘name and shame’ paedophiles after
the death of Sarah Payne was, however, unsuccessful.
6.3 Pressure Groups
6.3.1 The Fathers 4 Justice campaign uses publicity stunts (known as ‘direct action’),
but so far it has been unsuccessful. However, gay rights groups were successful
in getting the age of homosexual consent lowered from 18 to 16 in 2000.
6.3.2 Pressure groups may ‘lobby’ Parliament, e.g. trade
unions lobby MPs to get better rights for workers
6.4 manifesto promises
6.4.1 Political parties publish their proposals for new
laws in a manifesto before a general election.
6.4.2 The Labour Party’s manifesto
in 1997 promised reforms to
the House of Lords, which have
been carried through. The
Conservative Party promised
the introduction of the poll tax
in its 1987 manifesto.
6.5 EU Law
6.5.1 If UK law does not conform to EU law, Parliament must create a new law.
6.5.2 For example, the Sex Discrimination Act 1986 was created
to improve protection of female workers.