LAW REFORM FOR: The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploita

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability published a series of Issues Papers. You can choose to focus on the paper on Rights and attitudes or the Criminal justice system. You should prepare a written submission that addresses a selection of one to four questions. It should be clear which questions you are addressing. See:
What is a law reform submission?
As we will discuss throughout the subject, law reform submissions are pieces of writing that respond to the terms of reference or questions set by the government on a particular topic. They focus on evaluating specific laws or policies or proposals for new laws or policies. They provide an important opportunity for people and organisations outside government to give their views on a particular issue.
For example, in the past, there have been law reform projects focusing on the laws and systems in relation to family violence or the law on defences to murder (please see the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s page for its completed projects for further details: (Links to an external site.)). Law reform submissions written by people or organisations are seriously considered by government and can influence what happens to law and policy in a particular area. They can lead to new laws, laws being changed, or further review of laws.
As such, law reform submissions broadly:
focus on how to make the law work better;
contain the author’s view on the strengths and weaknesses of particular laws, policies or systems’
include the author’s recommendations for change or reform.
Law reform submissions need to be clearly and concisely written and advance a clear point of view substantiated with relevant examples, facts and research. They are focused on providing practical ways to make an area of law or policy more just. This means that they are not just about critiquing a particular law or policy, but are focused on what can be done better.
Assessment Instructions
For this subject, you will write a research-based 2,000-word law reform submission that responds to a real-life call for submissions.
Law reform commissions, commissions of inquiry and government bodies seek submissions in a variety of ways. They might:
publish an issues paper or consultation paper with questions that they want people to respond to
publish their terms of reference and ask for submissions which address them
ask a general question (such as ‘tell us your views on how the family violence system is working’)?
Please choose one law reform reference/inquiry to focus on from the list below. You will see that they seek submissions in different ways. There is guidance on what you should focus on.
The law reform submission:
– Directly addresses the call for submissions, terms of reference or issues/consultation paper questions (whichever is relevant);
– Explains who you are, why you are making a submission and who you are representing (this can be factual or fictional);
– Advances a clear argument or point of view;
– Uses research, examples and facts to substantiate this point of view;
– Provides a sense of what should be done, e.g. how the law can be improved;
– Is written in clear and concise language and is easy to understand;
– Has a balanced and objective tone;
– Has a logical and well-organised structure;
– Uses good spelling and grammar;
– Has a comprehensive and well-presented reference list.
– This is a research-based assignment and you will be expected to undertake research in order to produce your final submission. You will be assessed on the quality and extent of your research and your use of it throughout your submission paper. However, your assignment should follow the submission format outlined above.
You will be marked on the following criteria, that corresponds directly with the above instructions:
Does the submission directly address the terms of reference/questions of the inquiry?
How well does the submission advance a clear and persuasive argument, or point of view?
How well is this argument substantiated with adequate research, examples and facts?
How well does the submission provide a clear sense of what should be done?
How well-researched is the submission?
Does it have a balanced tone?
Is the submission structured in a logical and well-organised manner?
Is the paper clearly and concisely written, using appropriate spelling and grammar?
Does the submission have a comprehensive and well-presented reference list? Is referencing completed correctly?

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