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Law Commission (England and Wales)

Coordinates: 51°30′01″N 0°08′03″W / 51.5003°N 0.1341°W / 51.5003; -0.1341
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Law Commission
Comisiwn y Gyfraith
Established1965 (1965)
TypeAdvisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice
Legal statusCreated by the Law Commissions Act 1965
PurposeTo keep the law of England and Wales under review and to recommend reform where needed
Headquarters52 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AG
Coordinates51°30′01″N 0°08′03″W / 51.5003°N 0.1341°W / 51.5003; -0.1341
Region served
Primarily England and Wales
Occasionally Northern Ireland
Rarely the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories
Official languages
De jure: English and Welsh
De facto and working language: English
Sir Peter Fraser
Chief Executive
Phil Golding

In England and Wales the Law Commission (Welsh: Comisiwn y Gyfraith) is an independent law commission set up by Parliament by the Law Commissions Act 1965[1] to keep the law of England and Wales under review and to recommend reforms. The organisation is headed by a Chairman (currently Sir Nicholas Green,[2] a judge of the Court of Appeal) and four Law Commissioners. It proposes changes to the law that will make the law simpler, more accessible, fairer, modern and more cost-effective. It consults widely on its proposals and in the light of the responses to public consultation, it presents recommendations to the UK Parliament that, if legislated upon, would implement its law reform recommendations. The commission is part of the Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies.


The Law Commissions Act 1965 requires the Law Commission to submit "programmes for the examination of different branches of the law" to the Lord Chancellor for his approval before undertaking new work.

Every three or four years the Law Commission consults widely, asking for suggestions for projects to include in these programmes.

Decisions about whether to include a project are based on:

  • the strength of the need for law reform
  • the importance of the issues it will cover
  • the availability of resources in terms of both expertise and funding
  • whether the project is suitable to be dealt with by the independent Commission.

The Law Commission can also take on additional projects that are referred directly by Government departments.

At any one time, around 15 to 20 areas of law will be under review. Law Commission projects cover a wide range of subjects that belong to the criminal law, property law, family and trust law, public law, commercial law.

The Law Commission has a rolling programme of law reform projects, and every three years or so it consults on any new projects that should be added to the list of those that it already has under way. In December 2017 it published its 13th Programme of Law Reform.[3]

Approximately 70% of the Law Commission's law reform recommendations have been enacted or accepted by Government.[4]

Current commissioners[edit]

The current commissioners are:[5]

  • Peter Fraser (chair)
  • Sarah Green
  • Nicholas Hopkins
  • Penney Lewis
  • Nicholas Paines


The chair of the Law Commission is usually a High Court judge. Chairs are often promoted to the Court of Appeal. Until 2008, promotion would occur soon after or shortly before the end of their term as chair, with one exception: Samuel Cooke (whose term as chair ended with his death in 1978).[6] Terence Etherton was promoted to the Court of Appeal approximately two years into his term. The most recent incumbents were appointed near the beginning of their terms.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Text of Law Commission Act 1965.
  2. ^ "Mr Justice Green appointed Chair of the Law Commission | Law Commission". www.lawcom.gov.uk. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  3. ^ "14 new areas of law set for reform – Law Commission | Law Commission". www.lawcom.gov.uk. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Annual reports | Law Commission". www.lawcom.gov.uk. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Who we are | Law Commission". Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b Professor Graham Zellick; Francis Bennion (14 May 1986). "The Legislative Implementation of Law Reform Proposals" (PDF). Law Commission - QMC Colloquium. F A R Bennion. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Senior Judiciary". Judiciary of England and Wales. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Obituary - Sir Michael Kerr". The Daily Telegraph. London. 23 April 2002. Retrieved 14 April 2009.
  9. ^ "Obituary - Sir Ralph Gibson". The Daily Telegraph. London. 5 November 2003. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  10. ^ "Roy Beldam". Crown Office Chambers. Archived from the original on 26 March 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  11. ^ "MI5 - Intelligence Services Commissioner". MI5. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  12. ^ "Sir Henry Brooke". Fountain Court. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  13. ^ "Court of Appeal Civil Division". HM Courts Service. 20 March 2009. Archived from the original on 18 July 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  14. ^ "Honorary Graduates - Sir Roger Toulson, Doctor of Laws". University of Bradford. 7 July 2008. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  15. ^ "Terence Etherton to Chair Law Commission". legalday.com. 25 July 2006. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  16. ^ "New chairman of Law Commission appointed by Lord Chancellor". Ministry of Justice. 3 August 2009. Archived from the original on 22 September 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  17. ^ "Appointment of Lord Justices of Appeal". Number10.gov.uk. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  18. ^ "Appointment of Lord Justices of Appeal". lawcom.gov.uk. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.

External links[edit]