Dalhousie Law Journal


substantive law, Horace Read, legislation, legislative process, Cases and Materials on Legislation, family law, England


My qualifications for delivering this lecture in honour of the late Horace E. Read are questionable. As an English academic family lawyer, I cannot claim an interest in the substantive areas of law which most interested him. As a member of the English Law Commission, however, I can claim an interest in legislation and the legislative process and Horace Read is perhaps best known outside North America for his pioneering work on the teaching of methods of making and applying legislation, including of course his Cases and Materials on Legislation. I should like, therefore, to offer him some thoughts on the process of legislating for reform in family law, with particular reference to recent events in England. They may, I fear, be somewhat uncomfortable thoughts, as they are prompted by the expectations apparently engendered in some quarters by my appointment as the first woman Law Commissioner for England and Wales.' If the law were indeed a rational science, operating against the background of some generally approved and coherent theory of justice, then the sex of a law reformer should make no difference to her consideration of whether a particular law is unjust and how it should be changed. But of course the law is not rational in that way and to some it may seem self-evident that a woman will have a different perspective upon law reform, perhaps particularly in the field of family law.

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