I have always loved law reform commission reports. They are great sources for legal research. Many of the reports provide historical background on an issue and you can often find comparative information about how other jurisdictions have responded to a legal problem.
This past month, 3 law commission reports from England and New Zealand caught my attention for how they incorporated a comparative law approach:
- The Law Commission of New Zealand released an Issues Paper on the use of financial penalties by enforcement agencies to punish corporations and individuals for breaches of the law. The document briefly examines the situation in a number of other jurisdictions, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and Germany.
- The same commission also released an Issues Paper on Joint and Several Liability. The Law Commission had previously reviewed this area of law in the 1990s. The current paper summarizes the previous reports, as well as comparing the New Zealand approach to that in Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
- The English Law Commission has launched a consultation on the balance between the right to publish and the right of a defendant to a fair trial. It looks at contempt by publication, contempt committed by jurors and contempt committed through new social media. The Commission has provided quite a number of consultation documents, including one on contempt of court in other jurisdictions including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland.