Law reform as personalities, politics and pragmatics - the family provision Act 1982 (NSW)

a case study

Rosalind Croucher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Legislation which empowers a court to override a will is an expression of the balance between rights of individuals with respect to property and a checking mechanism in favour, broadly, of ‘family’. The process through which the Testator’s Family Maintenance Act 1916 (NSW) became the Family Provision Act 1982 (NSW) provides a fascinating case study of the process of institutional law reform; one in which the shifting philosophy of property concepts within families was expressed through the day-by-day exercise of getting law changed. Where the Testator's Family Maintenance Act 1916 had been introduced entirely through the legislative processes of Parliament, the Family Provision Act 1982, which superseded it, was the product of the work of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission, and later, in the implementation of the Law Reform Commission's Report, Parliamentary Counsel. This article considers the process that led to the passage of the 1982 Act and reveals how personal the pragmatic process of law reform can be.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalLegal history
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Publisher version archived with the permission of the Dean, Division of Law, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to reprint/republish this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.


  • Legal history. Succession. Testamentary freedom. Law Reform.
  • legal
  • law reform

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