Achieving an accessible and modern electoral law
The Law Commissions of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are carrying out a tri-partite review of the UK's electoral law. More information on this project is set out below.
11 December 2012: Publication of the Law Commission's scoping report
Following consultation over the summer, the Law Commission has published a report identifying the areas of UK electoral law that will come under scrutiny in its review.
Every respondent to the Law Commission's consultation, including ourselves, agreed that the law surrounding elections needs to be reviewed and brought up to date. The review has the potential to make electoral law more modern and accessible, significantly improving voters' experience.
Our submission on the inclusion of electoral law in reform programme
On 15 October 2010 we responded to the Law Commission’s consultation on its Eleventh Programme of Law Reform. Our response proposed that the Law Commission should include a project on electoral law reform as part of its Programme and set out some of the reasons why we were of the view that reform of electoral law was necessary.
In summary, in our submission we identified, with examples, a number of areas where we believed problems with the current legislative framework exist, including:
- the number of laws in this area,
- the outdated nature of some of these laws,
- inconsistencies between different elections, and
- legislation which is at times ambiguous or imposes undue administrative burdens in its implementation.
We recommended bringing together the numerous statutes and secondary legislation into a more coherent statutory framework. A simpler, more modern legislative framework would have considerable benefits for all those involved in administering elections, those standing for election and, most importantly, those wishing to cast their vote. We also believed that a simpler framework would be more cost effective to administer.
The Law Commission's project
On 19 July 2011 the Law Commission confirmed that it had been able to include a project on the reform of electoral law in its Eleventh Programme of Law Reform. The project will cover electoral law throughout the UK and will therefore be a joint project of the Law Commissions in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Read the Law Commission's Eleventh Programme of Law Reform (PDF) (pages 14-15 for the electoral law project)
The Law Commission published a scoping consultation paper on 15 June 2012 and at the same time commenced a consultation exercise on that paper.
The Law Commissions expect to open a consultation on reform in late 2014. A report with recommendations to Government is expected to be published in summer 2015.
We are carrying out work to assist the Law Commission with the project. On 7 November 2011 we sent our preliminary views on the scope of the project to the Law Commission.
- Read our preliminary views on the scope of the project (PDF)
- Schedule of electoral legislation (PDF)
Response to Law Commission consultation
We have published our response to the Law Commission consultation on reform of Electoral Law.
We strongly support the Law Commission’s project for the reform of electoral law as it represents a significant step forward in the process of modernising electoral law across the UK.
Alongside our response, we have also published reports on two key aspects of reform:
More information on the project can be found on the Law Commission’s website >