Dalhousie Law Journal


Peter M. North


Hague Conventions, English Conflict of Laws, Horace Read, legislation, instrument of change, innovation, common law, Commonwealth, law reform, instrument of legal change, legislative gun


Over twenty years ago, Horace Read said: "The first half of this century has seen the emergence of legislation as the chief instrument of change and innovation in the law".2 True though this comment was in 1959, it has received added force in the common law world, especially in the Commonwealth, by the 'explosion of law reform' 3 which has taken place since the mid-sixties. The creation of permanent statutory law reform agencies has tilted the balance even further towards legislation as the instrument of legal change. This is for two reasons. Despite the occasional judicial attempt to jump the legislative gun,4 the means of implementing proposals from law reform commissions is by means of legislation, and this is assisted by the practice of many such bodies of appending draft Bills to their final reports. The fact that such agencies exist seems in recent years, in England at least, to have caused the judges in a number of instances to argue that major change in the law is not for them, but for the legislature.