Victorian Law Reform Commission

The Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) is a formal pressure for change in the law. It was established under the “Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 (Vic)”. It is government-funded, but independent.1


The basic role of the VLRC is to ‘develop, monitor and coordinate’ law reform activity in Victoria.2 It undertakes research, and compiles a report with recommendations for change on issues referred to it by the Victorian Attorney-General (currently Martin Pakula). In undertaking research, it assesses community views on a particular issue through written and electronic submissions, public and private meetings, and discussion groups.

While the VLRC cannot generally choose which matters it investigates, it can make recommendations for minor changes to the law without a reference from the Attorney-General. Additionally, it can suggest to the Attorney-General that he refers certain matters to the VLRC. The VLRC has investigated issues such as: workplace privacy; jury directions; sexual offences; IVF and adoption; defences to homicide; and bail.


The VLRC ‘s law reform process involves looking at the law as it stands, talking to people about what does and does not work, researching the issues involved and possible changes, and finally recommending changes. The VLRC undergoes the following process:

  1. Receives a reference from the Attorney-General or begins a community law reform project
  2. Undertakes initial research
  3. Consults with experts
  4. Publishes an issue or discussion paper and calls for submissions
  5. Considers submissions
  6. Undertakes consultations with members of the community, workers in the area under investigation and other relevant agencies.
  7. May ask experts to conduct specific research
  8. Publishes a report with the recommendations for change in the law. Sometimes, the commission will also publish an interim report to give people the chance to comment on possible recommendations.
  9. The Attorney-General tables the report in parliament.
  10. Parliament decides whether to implement the recommendations (in whole or part) through legislation.

See also:

Reasons for change in the law

  1. 30 Jan 2014, “About Us” 

  2. ibid.