Law Commission of Ontario hosts free public lecture and law reform symposium

How can governments benefit from the work of law reform commissions while respecting their independence? How do law reform commissions maintain their independence while responding to government needs? These perennial issues will be the subject of the first free public lecture presented by the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO), which is based at York.

Michael Tilbury, a long time member of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission, will present "Win-Win or Who Will Rid Me of this Turbulent Priest? The Relationship between Law Reform Commissions and Governments" on May 12. The lecture will begin at 5:30pm in Convocation Hall at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto. Tilbury has had considerable experience in working with the delicate relationship between the government and independent law reform agencies in Australia.

"The relationship between any independent law reform body and the government is a complicated one," observes Patricia Hughes (LLB ’82), the executive director of the Law Commission of Ontario. "It requires sensitivity and a realistic understanding of how law reform commissions and governments should relate to each other.

Left: Patricia Hughes

"Michael Tilbury knows from experience that even good relationships can have their bumpy moments and the importance of getting back on track when that happens," she said.

The lecture will be followed on May 13 by a day-long free symposium made up of three conversations about law reform. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss what they believe law reform involves, how it should be carried out and what challenges it faces today. The symposium will start at 8:45am at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, and will last until 4:30pm. Registration information is available on the LCO Web site.

The conversations on May 13 will be prompted by comments from speakers who have played a role in fostering change through law reform, including Rod MacDonald, the first president of the Law Commission of Canada; Osgoode Hall Law School Professor and former dean Harry Arthurs, responsible for recommending reform to federal labour law and the Ontario pension system; Kim Murray who will talk about the "government to government" approach of First Nations to law reform; and David Lepofsky, disability rights activist, among others.

"The Law Commission of Ontario is committed to engaging with the community about the nature of law reform," said Hughes. "We can’t do law reform in isolation and this symposium is intended to foster dialogue around crucial issues in law reform with those who should benefit from it." 

Launched in September 2007, the Law Commission of Ontario is an independent body that makes recommendations for reform of the law.

The lecture and symposium will be in English only; materials from the events will subsequently be available in French on the Law Commission of Ontario Web site.

For more information, contact Patricia Hughes, executive director, at or call 416-650-8402.