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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 93405 Find in a Library
Title: Where Next in Law Reform
Author(s): M MacGuigan
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
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Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
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NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This address discusses current directions in Canadian law reform, from eliminating antiquated laws to creating an accessible court system.
Abstract: As modern technology expands and old customs disappear, the law should evolve to keep current with the situations that citizens actually face in their lives. Proposed changes in the Canadian Criminal Code include the elimination of antiquated laws, the more exact definition of criminal contempt, and a statement of principles to guide judges in sentencing. Victims have suffered neglect until recently; they will now be able to present their views in presentencing victim-impact statement. Divorce law should reflect concern for the people involved in the divorce process. Elimination of the necessity of adversarial proceedings will help achieve this end. Because the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is such a pivotal law, it is essential that Federal law be consistent with it. A full review of existing legislation will work to accomplish this. Many citizens find the legal system too complicated and slow to provide the conflict-resolution services they need. The problem of reducing court delays and backlogs will require a wide range of measures beyond simply increasing the number of judges. Further, if people are to have a meaningful role in the legal system they need information. Most citizens lack the basic vocabulary necessary to comprehend, participate in, and evaluate what occurs in court. Therefore, the demystification of the law must become a high priority. A final frontier of law reform is the social context of the law. An understanding of the social roots of problems like wife battering or racial discrimination blurs the distinction between social and legal problems.
Index Term(s): Canada; Citizen legal knowledge; Citizen legal problems; Criminal codes; Law reform; Victims rights
Note: An address to the Mid-Winter Meeting of the Canadian Bar Association, Whitehorse, Yukon, February 28, 1984
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