The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Law reform or legal reform is the process of examining existing laws, and advocating and implementing change in a legal system, usually with the aim of enhancing justice or efficiency.
Intimately related are law reform bodies or law commissions, 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 corporations 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 in order to change the common law; lobbying of government officials in order to change legislation; and research or writing that helps to establish an empirical basis for other law reform activities.
The four main methods in reforming law are repeal (get rid of a law), creation of new law, consolidation (change existing law) and codification.
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, and kindred words must be construed accordingly.
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, 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 by the population, and also the corporate consciousness of the whole legal community. Judicial reform usually aims to improve such things as law courts, procuracies, advocacy (bar), inquest, executory processes, and record keeping." .
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. 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. It is important to distinguish between the two methods of corruption of the judiciary: the state (through budget planning and various privileges), and the private.
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 principle, also proclaimed in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, requires observance of judicial independence. 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 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 and legislative authorities. The program of legal reform needs to be adopted in the form of a legislative act.
Chinese law is one of the oldest legal traditions in the world. The core of modern Chinese law is based on Germanic-style civil law, socialist law, and traditional Chinese approaches.
Judicial independence is the concept that the judiciary should be independent from the other branches of government. That is, courts should not be subject to improper influence from the other branches of government or from private or partisan interests. Judicial independence is important to the idea of separation of powers.
The primary and fundamental statement of laws in the Russian Federation is the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
The origin of the current law of the People's Republic of China can be traced back to the period of the early 1930s, during the establishment of the Chinese Soviet Republic. In 1931 the first supreme court was established. Though the contemporary legal system and laws have no direct links to traditional Chinese law, their impact and influence of historical norms still exist.
Rechtsstaat is a doctrine in continental European legal thinking, originating in German jurisprudence. It can be translated into English as "rule of law", alternatively "legal state", "state of law", "state of justice", or "state based on justice and integrity".
Constitutional theory is an area of constitutional law that focuses on the underpinnings of constitutional government. It overlaps with legal theory, constitutionalism, philosophy of law and democratic theory. It is not limited by country or jurisdiction.
Budget theory is the academic study of political and social motivations behind government and civil society budgeting. Classic theorists in Public Budgeting include Henry Adams, William F. Willoughby, V. O. Key, Jr., and, more recently, Aaron Wildavsky. Notable recent theorists include Baumgartner and Jones--Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones, Richard Fenno, Allen Schick, Dennis Ippolito, Naomi Caiden, Irene Rubin, James D. Savage, Thomas Greitens and Gary Wamsley. Budget theory was a central topic during the Progressive Era and was much discussed in municipal bureaus and other academic and quasi-academic facilities of that time such as the nascent Brookings Institution.
The New Delhi Congress or Declaration of Delhi was an international gathering of over 185 judges, lawyers, and law professors from 53 countries all over the world, united as the International Commission of Jurists that took place in New Delhi, India in 1959. The theme of the New Delhi Congress was "The Rule of Law in a Free Society". The Congress further developed the principles and procedures underlying the Rule of Law as well as defining and clarifying the concept itself.
The High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, HJPC BiH is the national council of the judiciary of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the self-regulatory body of the judiciary in the country, tasked with guaranteeing its independence, with countrywide competences over the administration and career management of judicial office holders. It is based on the continental tradition of self-management of the judiciary.
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is a high court within the judiciary of Russia which is empowered to rule on whether certain laws or presidential decrees are in fact contrary to the Constitution of Russia. Its objective is only to protect the Constitution and deal with a few kinds of disputes where it has original jurisdiction, whereas the highest court of appeal is the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.
The judiciary of Somalia is defined by the Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia. It stipulates that the national court structure is to be organized into three tiers: the Constitutional Court, Federal Government level courts, and Federal Member State level courts. A future nine-member Judicial Service Commission is empowered to appoint any federal tier member of the judiciary. It also selects and presents potential Constitutional Court judges to the House of the People of the Federal Parliament for approval. If endorsed, the President then appoints the candidate as a judge of the Constitutional Court. The five-member Constitutional Court is likewise empowered to adjudicate issues pertaining to the constitution, in addition to various federal and sub-national matters.
Judicial review is a process under which executive or legislative actions are subject to review by the judiciary. A court with authority for judicial review may invalidate laws, acts and governmental actions that are incompatible with a higher authority: an executive decision may be invalidated for being unlawful or a statute may be invalidated for violating the terms of a constitution. Judicial review is one of the checks and balances in the separation of powers: the power of the judiciary to supervise the legislative and executive branches when the latter exceed their authority. The doctrine varies between jurisdictions, so the procedure and scope of judicial review may differ between and within countries.
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 Ministry of Justice of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), formed on 15 March 1946, was one of the most important government offices in the Soviet Union. It was formerly known as the People's Commissariat for Justice abbreviated as Наркомюст (Narkomiust). The Ministry, at the All-Union (USSR-wide) level, was established on 6 July 1923, after the signing of the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR, and was in turn based upon the People's Commissariat for Justice of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) formed in 1917. The Ministry was led by the Minister of Justice, prior to 1946 a Commissar, who was nominated by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and confirmed by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and was a member of the Council of Ministers.
Constitutional economics is a research program in economics and constitutionalism that has been described as explaining the choice "of alternative sets of legal-institutional-constitutional rules that constrain the choices and activities of economic and political agents". This extends beyond the definition of "the economic analysis of constitutional law" and is distinct from explaining the choices of economic and political agents within those rules, a subject of orthodox economics. Instead, constitutional economics takes into account the impacts of political economic decisions as opposed to limiting its analysis to economic relationships as functions of the dynamics of distribution of marketable goods and services.
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 of fairness, morality, and justice. Thus, the rule according to a higher law may serve as a practical legal criterion to qualify the instances of political or economical decision-making, when a government, even though acting in conformity with clearly defined and properly enacted legal rules, still produces results which many observers find unfair or unjust.
Kosovo has a civil law system which is also sometimes known as Continental European law system. The central source of law that is recognized as authoritative is codifications in a constitution or statute passed by legislature, to amend a code. This system of Kosovo has experienced several changes throughout the years and is currently a system that includes prominent bodies and branches that help Kosovo enact adequate laws and conduct proper legal procedures.
The judiciary of Somaliland is the judicial branch of the Somaliland government.
The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan,, is the central government body charged consistent implementation of a single state policy in the sphere of lawmaking and law enforcement practice in Uzbekistan.
After gaining independence, Azerbaijan has taken important measures throughout the country to improve its legal system, enhance justice and efficiency.
|Wikiversity has learning resources about Law reform|