Monday, March 24, 2014

UK Government Triennial Review of English Law Commission

The Law Commission for England and Wales has just gone through the British government's triennial review of its programmes and earned mostly positive remarks.

Once every three years, what are called non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs, in other words arm's-length bodies such as the Law Commission) are put through a substantive review by the British government:
"The Cabinet Office has identified two principal aims for Triennial Reviews: 
  • to provide robust challenge to the continuing need for individual NDPBs – both their functions and their form (Stage One); and
  • where it is agreed that a particular body should remain as an NDPB, to review the control and governance arrangements in place to ensure that the public body is complying with recognised principles of good corporate governance (Stage Two)." [from page 4 of the Report of Stage Two]
In the case of the Law Commission, it is the UK Ministry of Justice which conducts the review.

While the report makes a number of recommendations to improve the corporate governance practices of the Commission, overall, it has identified many areas of good practice, such as:
  • "Openness and engagement with stakeholders, the professions and the general public are at the core of the Commission’s work. It goes to great efforts to engage on the development of its Work Programmes as well as at all stages of individual projects, including in the development of recommendations and supporting Law Commission Bills through Parliament. The Commission’s commitment to openness was one of the key themes coming through in the responses to the Call for Evidence during Part 1 of the Triennial Review, where it was greatly welcomed by the Commission’s stakeholders. Its open and transparent approach to law reform and policy making is an exemplar of the kind of open policy making championed in the Civil Service Reform Plan (...)
  • There is very regular contact between the Commission and its sponsors at all levels, on a wide range of issues relating to strategic issues, individual law reform projects and sponsorship issues. This is underpinned by regular meetings between the Commissioners and Ministers (...)
  • The Law Commission has a clear purpose, set out in statute. That purpose is not just understood by the Commissioners and the Commission staff, but by the wide range of people the Commission works with, inside and outside Government and Parliament, including the general public and the legal professions." [pages 12-13]
The Law Commission for England and Wales was established by the Law Commissions Act 1965.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:52 pm


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