Dalhousie Law Journal


Philip Slayton


Law Reform, Civil law, Common Law


Law reform is everywhere in Canada. On all sides substantial changes in diverse areas of the law are constantly being proposed by government organizations whose only purpose is to make such proposals. The reforms mooted by these bodies (these reforms are typically described as "long overdue") are generally welcomed as correcting deficiencies in law and as signalling the legal system's responsiveness to changing social and other standards. Is the law reform pace, if not furious, too fast? What is the most appropriate forum for initiating change in law? Such questions seem reasonable enough, and yet a traditionalist might well argue that irrevocable answers are inherent in any legal system. Both civil and common law systems, so the argument would go, have their chosen instruments of change, and the nature of those instruments substantially determines the rate and extent of progress. If we accept a system, we must accept the way in which, and the extent to which, it responds to alleged needs for reform of its law.

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