Electoral Law Reform Joint Consultation Paper Published | Northern Ireland Law Commission
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Electoral Law Reform Joint Consultation Paper Published

The Project aims to simplify and modernise electoral administration law which has become complex and unwieldy and has given rise to inconsistencies and unjustifiable differences in practice between different elections and different parts of the UK. The scope of the Project is limited to technical aspects of electoral law governing the administration of elections and will not include issues such as the voting system, who can vote etc.

Electoral law is not a devolved matter. The Northern Ireland Assembly has no legislative competence in respect of elections. Under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 elections to the UK Parliament, including the franchise specifically, European Parliamentary elections, elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and local government (district council) elections are all excepted matters. The Northern Ireland Minister of Justice consulted with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, (as required under section 51(3) and section 51(3A) of the Justice Act 2002) before granting approval to the Northern Ireland Law Commission to include this project in its Second Programme on 15 November 2012.

Owing to the subject nature, any review of the law on elections and referendums must be UK-wide. The project is being led by the Law Commission (England and Wales) supported by the Northern Ireland Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission. The Northern Ireland Law Commission is working closely with its sister law reform bodies to ensure that Northern Ireland issues and interests are fully represented in any proposals for reform.

This project is split into three phases, with review points between phases. The first phase was the scoping exercise. The publication of the scoping report in December 2012 marked the end of this phase. The current phase involves formulating substantive law reform proposals and the final phase will produce a Final Report and draft Bill to implement the recommendations. The aim will be to complete the final phases in early 2017.

The three Commissions formally launched a Joint Consultation Paper on this topic on 9 December 2014. Responses and comments are invited from any member of the public or interested party, with submissions to be made no later than Tuesday 31 March 2015.

Responses should be sent to:
Mr Henni Ouahes
Law Commission
1st Floor, Tower
52 Queen Anne’s Gate

Tel: 020 3334 3599 / Fax: 020 3334 0201

By email to: commercialandcommon@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk

Related documents
A Joint Consultation Paper: Electoral Law (opens new window)