LRAC Inquiry into restorative practices

Terms of Reference 

On 8 September 2016, the ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell MLA asked the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council (LRAC) to undertake an inquiry into fostering restorative practices in the ACT, with a focus on the legal and justice dimensions of restorative practices. The inquiry will allow LRAC to explore creative solutions to shared problems using restorative processes which have the potential to promote safer and more connected communities. 

Terms of Reference [PDF 36KB]

The first stage of this reference is the release of the LRAC Issues Paper entitled Canberra – becoming a restorative city in PDF [1MB] and Word [536KB] format. The Council is keen to hear your views on the questions asked in the paper through written and on-line submissions.  If you want to provide a submission, the process is outlined on page 3 of the Issues Paper.  If you want to provide an on-line submission, you can do this at https://www.surveymonkey.com/….

Closing date for receipt of the Issues Paper submissions is Friday 29 September 2017.

After receipt of these first submissions, the Council will prepare an Interim Report as requested by the Attorney.  This will provide a second opportunity for more focussed submissions and public consultations around the interim proposals set out in that report.  At the second stage, the Council will work with interested community groups to conduct appropriate consultations with stakeholders and interested people and organisations.  These will be advertised in the community, on our website and on social media.  Our Facebook page is at ACT Law Reform Advisory Council (LRAC) and our Twitter handle is @ACTLRAC1.  If you want your name or that of your organisation included in our email list for the reference, please email us on lrac@anu.edu.au.

Submissions received 

The following submissions were received by the Council and were agreed to be made public. As some of them contain other material, they are presented here as PDFs for ease of download. If someone requires any of the submissions in Word format, please contact the Council Executive Officer on lrac@anu.edu.au to arrange this. 

  1. Catherine Settle
  2. Advocacy for Inclusion
  3. Human Rights Commission
  4. ACAT
  5. Canberra Community Law
  6. Regnet
  7. Relationships Australia
  8. Professor Bob Douglas
  9. David Moore - on behalf of the Committee of the Victorian Association for Restorative Justice
  10. Conflict Resolution Service - Preliminary
  11. AB Survey Monkey No 11
  12. Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy (CAPAD) 

Progress Report on the consultations

The Law Reform Advisory Council has completed a Progress Report in the Restorative City PDF [1 MB] and Word [856 KB] reference.  This provides information from the submissions sent in by individuals and organisations, as well as from consultations, case-studies and meetings conducted by Council since the Issues Paper was released at the end of June 2017.  This Progress Report summarises information and ideas put forward by people in the Canberra community about the broader issues raised in the Issues Paper. It also provides some ideas and thoughts from those with lived experiences of the two focus areas of the Issues Paper, child protection and public housing from a range of perspectives.

The Council will be arranging consultations from the second half of January and the next consultation period ends 30 March 2018.  If you wish to organise a meeting with the Council, please contact us by email on lrac@anu.edu.au or by phone after 22 January 2018 on 6125 0812. This can cover material from the Issues Paper and the Progress Report, as is relevant.

Review of Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991

 LRAC Inquiry into the scope and operation of the Discrimination Act 1991

 Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2011

The Bill that was the subject of this reference lapsed at the end of the Seventh Assembly in August 2012.  The Bill was not reintroduced into the Eighth Assembly, and the Attorney-General formally withdrew the reference from the Law Reform Advisory Council.

For any questions or information about the inquiry, please email lrac@anu.edu.au or telephone 02 6125 7514.

Legal recognition of sex and gender diversity (2012)

On 19 March 2013 the ACT Attorney-General, Simon Corbell MLA, tabled the Government response to the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council’s report Beyond the Binary: legal recognition of sex and gender diversity in the ACT in the ACT Legislative Assembly. The report was presented to the Attorney-General in June 2012.

In January 2011 the Attorney-General asked LRAC to inquire into and report to him on steps necessary to provide for legal recognition of transgender and intersex people in the Territory, and to ensure that any such provision is compliant with the Human Rights Act 2004, with particular regard to:

(a) the existing provisions of the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act 1997

(b) the potential implications of legal recognition of transgender and intersex people in the Territory for public functions or documentation under Territory and Commonwealth law, and

(c) the potential implications of legal recognition of transgender and intersex people in the Territory for mutual and other recognition of a person's sex by and among States, Territories, and the Commonwealth.

The report makes thirty-five recommendations, focusing on the review of legislation and information registration to promote enhanced recognition and access to services for all people in the ACTThe Council recommends standardising the use of terminology to more accurately reflect sex and gender diversity, and investment in education and training to support a broader program of social inclusion for the sex and gender diverse community.  

A copy of the Government response, the Council’s report, together with information about the inquiry, and copies of the issues paper, submissions and other useful documents are here.

Suspended sentences (2011)

The provision of sentences by ACT Courts attracts robust comment and debate within the community. In 2010, the issue of suspended sentences of imprisonment was referred to the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council for consideration following the publication of ABS criminal courts statistics for 2007-2008 that showed that of the defendants proved guilty in the ACT Supreme Court, 43.7% were given suspended sentences of imprisonment.

The LRAC report on suspended sentences of imprisonment was provided to the Attorney-General in November 2010. The report makes five recommendations in relation to data collection and reporting and raises four policy questions for consideration by the Government.   

The Government response concludes that suspended sentences of imprisonment be maintained as a sentencing option in the ACT. The response indicates that the Government will consult in order to consider two of the questions posed by the Council. Firstly, it will consult on whether it is necessary to include a statutory presumption to state that where an offender is found by a court to have breached a condition of their good behaviour order, then the suspended sentence of imprisonment should be imposed. Secondly, the Government will consult to determine if an amendment to the term ‘suspended sentence order’ is required to better reflect that it is a suspended sentence of imprisonment order. 

LRAC Report on suspended sentences in the ACT October 2010 [PDF 757KB]

LRAC Report on suspended sentences in the ACT October 2010 [Word 563KB]

LRAC Report on suspended sentences in the ACT Government Response September 2011 [PDF 497KB]

Australian Capital Territory Community Law Reform Program (1984)

This program aimed to encourage members of the public to suggest reforms, to act on suggestions which do not require extensive inquiry, and to ask the Attorney-General for specific references in relation to suitable suggestions.

Under that Program the ALRC conducted four inquiries:

  1. ALRC 28: Community law reform in the Australian Capital Territory: First report, 1985 - Contributory negligence in fatal accident cases and breach of statutory duty cases. Funeral costs in fatal accident cases. Full report...
  2. ALRC 30: Domestic Violence: the laws in force in the Australian Capital Territory with respect to domestic violence and matters arising from domestic violence. Full report...
  3. ALRC 32: Community law reform for the Australian Capital Territory: Second report, 1986 – Loss of consortium and compensation for loss of capacity to do housework. Full report...
  4. ALRC 47: Community law reform in the Australian Capital Territory, 1988: Enduring Powers of Attorney. Full report...

Community Law Reform Committee of the Australian Capital Territory (1990)

The Committee was established to assist the ACT Government to identify areas in need of reform, to anticipate emerging social and legal issues, and to assess the practical impact of various proposals and laws on the people of the ACT. 

The Community Law Reform Committee, later re-named the ACT Law Reform Commission, conducted 20 inquiries on the following topics:

  • Appellate Structure of the ACT Supreme Court
  • Artificial Conception (Amendment) Bill 1996
  • Bail laws
  • Contributory negligence
  • Defamation
  • Domestic violence
  • Essential services
  • Loss of consortium
  • Mandatory reporting of child abuse
  • Occupiers' liability
  • Peaceful assemblies
  • Public housing
  • Residential tenancy law
  • Rules of Court
  • Section 556 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
  • Sexual assault
  • Street offences
  • Substitute parentage agreements
  • Victims of crime

Access to all reports is available from the Australasian Legal Information Institute website.