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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
2 data files
3 audio reels (2 h, 30 min)
Added language of material: French
Scope and content
Fonds consists of records created and/or maintained by the Law Reform Commission of Canada and its predecessors. Researchers are cautioned that unprocessed textual records and records in other media are not reflected in this description.
Copyright belongs to the Crown.
Finding aids are available. See lower level descriptions and accession records in ArchiviaNet (the NA website). (Other)
Biography / Administrative history
The Law Reform Commission of Canada (LRC) was created on 1 June 1971 (RSC 1970, c. 23, 1st Supplement). The Commission ceased activities in 1992. The Law Reform Commission emerged out of an international movement to modernize laws and legal systems and had been advocated by the Canadian Bar Association as early as 1956. Designed as a permanent agency, its mandate was to review the laws of Canada on a systematic and continuing basis. Specific areas of concern for the Commission included: the removal of anachronisms and anomalies in the law; the promotion of laws that reflected the distinctive concepts and institutions of the common law and civil law legal systems in Canada; the reconciliation of differences and discrepancies in the expression and application of the law; the elimination of obsolete laws; and the development of new approaches to and new concepts of the law in keeping with and responsive to the changing needs of modern society.
The LRC had a significant impact on laws and legal practices in Canada. Parliament amended and passed laws based on the Commission's recommendations on such diverse matters as sexual assault, evidence, compensation to crime victims and abortion. In addition, studies by the Commission were cited in numerous legal decisions, including those of the Supreme Court of Canada. The influence of the Commission, in this respect, grew after the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was passed.
The Law Reform Commission reported to the Minister of Justice, who, as mandated in the act, sometimes determined the issues to be examined. Initially, the Commission was composed of a chairman, a vice-chairman, two full-time members and two part- time members. Research for much of the work of the Commission was carried out on contract. In 1975 the two part-time members were replaced by one full time member. All members were appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General and were required to be judges, or barristers or advocates of not less than ten years standing at the bar of any of the provinces. The chairman or vice chairman and at least one other member had to be judges of the Superior Court of Quebec or members of the Quebec bar.
Throughout its existence, the Commission had at least one regional office in addition to its head office in Ottawa. Until 1975, offices were maintained in the regions of origin of part-time members. In 1972 a regional office was opened in Montreal, in keeping with the mandate to reflect the nation's two legal systems. The Commission established smaller regional offices in Toronto and Vancouver in 1983 and 1984.
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