Recent publications by law reform bodies worldwide

AuthorGerard Coffey
PositionResearch assistant, school of law, N.U.I., Galway
This section of the Journal provides summaries of recent
publications by law reform bodies worldwide with the aim of
assisting Irish Judges in their work. The issues that arise in the Irish
courts are not generally unique to Ireland and it is always useful to
see how cognate jurisdictions view problems. The analysis provided
and the solutions suggested hold their own intrinsic interest and may
often shed light on similar matters that come before our courts. Web
site links are provided to the relevant publications to enable ease of
access as are the contact details of the law reform bodies in question.
The Irish entries weresubmitted by Mr. Ray Byrne, Director of
Research at the Law Reform Commission of Ireland, to whom we
are most grateful.
A. Ireland
Consultation Paper: The Court Poor Box
The Law Reform Commission of Ireland. (LRC CP 31-2004).
This Paper deals with the procedurewhich has been adopted
over many years by the courts, particularly the District Court, where
the judge may take the view that, although the prosecution has
proved its case, it is not appropriate to enter a conviction, but that a
contribution is made to the court poor box, the content of which is
then given to relevant charities. As well as involving this element of
restorative justice, this disposition recognises that, in certain
circumstances, it is appropriate to refrain from registering a criminal
conviction for some minor offences, especially against a young
person or first-time offender. On the other hand, concerns have been
expressed as to the need to ensureequal treatment for offenders from
220 [4:2Judicial Studies Institute Journal
different economic backgrounds and also as to the lack of
transparency regarding the use of funds. The Commission has
provisionally recommended that the essential elements of the
existing arrangement be put on a statutory basis, while omitting its
adverse features. The Commission also recommended that the
procedure be renamed the ‘Court Charity Fund.’ The proposed new
statutory model would include the criteria to be used in its
application, using an expanded version of the factors in the
Probation of Offenders Act, 1907,and also incorporating a revised
version of the compensation order regime in the Criminal Justice
Act, 1993.
Website Address:
B. England and Wales
Final Report: Partial Defences to Murder.
The Law Commission for England and Wales. (August 2004).
The objective of this Final Reportis to consider the partial
defences to murder,namely,provocation, diminished responsibility
and excessive self-defence. The Law Commission did not make any
recommendations to amend the law of diminished responsibility,
however, the Law Commission did recommend that the partial
defence of provocation be amended in three ways: that it should be
extended so as to potentially be available to certain defendants who
kill in response to fear of serious violence to themselves or another;
that the defence of provocation be moretightly drawn so as to
prevent it being advanced in certain cases wherepresently it is
available; and that an explicit power be given to the court to
withdraw the issue of provocation from the jury. The Law
Commission does not recommend any separate partial defence to
murder based on the excessive use of force in self-defence.
Website Address:
2004] 221Recent Publications
By Law Reform Bodies Worldwide

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