13th Programme of Law Reform

Current project status

  • Initiation: Could include discussing scope and terms of reference with lead Government Department
  • Pre-consultation: Could include approaching interest groups and specialists, producing scoping and issues papers, finalising terms of project
  • Consultation: Likely to include consultation events and paper, making provisional proposals for comment
  • Policy development: Will include analysis of consultation responses. Could include further issues papers and consultation on draft Bill
  • Reported: Usually recommendations for law reform but can be advice to government, scoping report or other recommendations

The 13th Programme of Law Reform was launched on 14 December 2017. Its work is ongoing.

Under the Law Commissions Act 1965 the Law Commission is required to submit Programmes of law reform to the Lord Chancellor. Since then, every three or four years the Commission has set out the areas it intends to work on for the next few years.

In July 2016 the 13th Programme of Law Reform consultation was launched to seek the public’s views on the issues most in need of reform. The consultation received the largest ever volume of responses with over 1,300 submissions covering 220 different topics.

From those suggestions, in December 2017, the Commissioners chose 14 topics for their new Programme. All have an acknowledgement from Government that there is a serious intention to reform the law in the relevant area.

The projects in the 13th Programme of Law Reform are:

  • A Modern Framework for Disposing of the Dead
  • Administrative Review
  • Automated Vehicles
  • Electronic Signatures
  • Employment Law Hearing Structures
  • Intermediated Securities
  • Modernising Trust Law for a Global Britain
  • Museum Collections
  • Registered Land and Chancel Repair Liability
  • Residential Leasehold
  • Simplifying the Immigration Rules
  • Smart Contracts
  • Surrogacy
  • Unfair Terms in Residential Leasehold

The projects selected for the 13th Programme are designed to address a wide range of issues. Broadly the Programme aims to:

  • boost Global Britain and help enhance the UK’s competitiveness as we leave the EU – smart contracts, electronic signatures; automated vehicles; intermediated securities; and modernising trust law.
  • improve the way in which the law works for the citizen or businesses – surrogacy; residential leasehold; unfair terms in residential leasehold; disposing of the dead; simplifying the Immigration Rules; employment law hearing structures; administrative review; museum collections; liability for chancel repair.

Download the report.

Read the news story.

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Project details

Area of law



Sir David Bean