“Conversations About Law Reform”

The Law Commission of Ontario’s “Conversations about Law Reform” is coming up in about three weeks (May 12th and 13th). There’s a Public Lecture and a full day Symposium.

To provide a backdrop, Michael Tilbury, a Commissioner with the NSW Law Reform Commission in Australia, will deliver a free Public Lecture on the relationship between governments and law commissions at 5:30 pm on Tuesday May 12th. Michael has had plenty of experience negotiating this complex relationship. The NSW Commission, in existence since 1966, is a more traditional model from the LCO, since it receives references from the Attorney General. Tilbury will talk about different models, though, and each raises its own complexities around this crucial relationship.

Wednesday, May 13th, is structured a series of conversations; the first two are on what we mean by law reform and how we carry it out, respectively. To get these first two conversations started, panelists will take a few minutes to talk about their views, their or their organization’s experience in “doing law reform” and then everyone in the audience will be invited to participate (attendance is limited to promote conversation instead of Q&A or a few isolated comments). The last conversation involves everyone from the beginning.

We are webcasting it, but although I thought about it at the start of our organizing, I don’t believe we’ve set up to allow people to send in questions and comments if they’re watching the webcast. I’ve been involved when viewers have sent in questions and I guess my concern is that encouraging the conversation format is a sufficient challenge, without adding the additional challenge of successfully integrating “off-site” questions and comments. (A more sophisticated arrangement with visuals for everyone that would bridge the gap somewhat between on-site and off-site participants isn’t an option for this conference.)

Does anyone have any experience with this conversational format and its affinity with off-site viewing that includes participation by off-site viewers?

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