Everything In Its Time – Legal Reform Is How Society Changes

Are you confused as to what legal reform actually means?

If you read the newspapers, it is about changing existing laws. If you listen to politicians, it is about changing existing laws to align with their political perspective. One example is gun reform. In the United States, gun reform is a hot political topic. Some want stricter laws on who can buy guns and under what circumstances, while others want to loosen existing constraints. Both point to the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which provides citizens a right to carry arms.

Gun Laws

Gun ownership isn’t the only area where many look to reform the law. Abortion rights, marijuana use, and other emotional issues are often the focus of law reform. When a government is considering changing an existing law or laws, they will often set up a law reform group or commission. These bodies research existing law and then recommend ways to modernize and simplify the law.

For a law reform commission to make good recommendations, they should be independent of a particular government. It is important that they are able to accurately study and analyze a law without fear of coercion.

As our society changes, the values and views of the citizens often change as well. Law reform changes, updates or deletes laws which do not fit with the modern vision. Politicians and others who are charged with making and upholding the law must identify when the law is no longer applicable and then modify it or get rid of it. There are several times when law reform may be necessary.


Changing morality may result in a need for new or updated legislation. It used to be that homosexuality was taboo and not allowed. Over time, homosexuality has become mainstream and accepted and thus the laws have changed. One good example is the law that permits marriage between two people of the same gender.

Societal values also change. These are the fundamental ideas that society has about gender, race, families, behavior, and even the law itself. Again, with time, social values often change. As recently as the 1960s, women could not hold a credit card in their own name or work in certain professions.

There are other times when changes in society will dictate a need for law reform. Social ethics, new technology, and even external events may result in a review of current legislation to see where legal reform is needed.