Francis Taylor Building

Senior Enforcement and Litigatin Lawyer
Law Commission programme to review electoral law, data sharing and taxis PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 10:59

The Law Commission has set its sights on reforming a range of areas relevant to public bodies as part of its Eleventh Programme of Law Reform, including electoral law, misconduct in public office, data sharing between public bodies, and taxi laws.

The key projects for the public sector out of the 14 in total being considered are:

  • Charity law, selected issues: “examining a range of issues concerning the constitution and regulation of charities and their activities”
  • Data sharing between public bodies: “clarifying the existence and nature of legal obstacles to data sharing”
  • Electoral law: “rationalising the complicated framework of rules governing electoral processes and take account of advances in technology”
  • Misconduct in a public office: “simplifying and clarifying this common law offence, and ensuring the law takes into account the fact that functions traditionally considered to be public in nature are now often discharged by private individuals and volunteers”
  • Rights to light – "assessing whether this area of law correctly balances a right to receive light against the right of neighbours affected by it to develop their land; including examining the relationship with planning law and the range of remedies available where a right is interfered with"
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles: “reviewing and simplifying the existing complex and separate regulatory systems, removing geographical inconsistencies and modernising to reflect advances in technology”.

Lord Justice Munby, Chairman of the Law Commission, says: “Our Eleventh Programme brings together a diverse range of law reform projects, each of which is important and highly relevant to our lives today. We are grateful to all those who responded to our consultation for their suggestions, and proud of the programme they have enabled us to build.

“The Law Commission exists solely to review the law and recommend reforms to make it fair, modern, accessible and cost-effective. Each area of law we will examine in the Eleventh Programme has been identified as being flawed and at risk of creating confusion and injustice. Each demands review and reform.”

The law reform advisory body said that it had received more than 200 proposals for projects, before selecting the final 14. The work will be conducted over the next four years, alongside projects carried over from previous programmes and those referred to the Commission by Ministers.

The other projects are:

  • Conservation covenants: “investigating the case for a new statutory interest in land that would enable a conservation obligation to be enforceable against a landowner by someone who is not a neighbour”
  • Contempt: “reviewing the law on contempt to take into account use of the internet and other technologies and to ensure courts have the powers they need to deal with contempt in the face of the court”
  • Electronic communications code: “considering whether the Code can be made more transparent, user-friendly and efficient in resolving disputes”
  • European contract law: “assessing the impact of the EC-generated optional instrument that sets out which laws apply to contracts made between businesses (and between businesses and consumers) from different member states”
  • Family financial orders: “considering how court orders for financial provision following divorce or the end of a civil partnership and orders concerning financial arrangements for children are enforced”
  • Offences against the person: “restructuring the law, probably by creating a new hierarchy of offences, and modernising and simplifying the language used to define offences against the person”
  • Trademark and design litigation, unjustified threats: “considering whether to repeal, reform or extend four provisions that impose liability to pay damages on the makers of an unjustified threat of intellectual property litigation”
  • Wildlife: “modernising the law on wildlife management, simplifying it and making it easier to understand.”

More information on the programme is available on the Commission’s website at


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