Driverless cars in line for legal reforms

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Dec 15, 2017
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Driverless cars were among 14 projects highlighted by the Law Commission

Philip Toscano/PA 

The laws on surrogacy, driverless cars and smart contracts are to be overhauled by the independent law reform watchdog for England and Wales.

The Law Commission also plans to look at creating a “modern framework” for disposing of the dead, which will assess unregulated methods such as those that reduce a body to ash, crystallise it or use vibration to disintegrate it.

The commission’s 14 planned projects, announced yesterday, have been chosen from a record 1,300 submissions covering 220 different topics after a public consultation.

Sir David Bean, chairman of the commission and a Court of Appeal judge, said its 13th programme of law reform had “attracted unprecedented interest across a broad range of areas. The commission has now refined these ideas into what I believe is a highly relevant and important series of law reform projects.

“We want to help tackle injustices by making the law simpler, clearer and fit for the future. We will also be making sure the law supports cutting edge technical innovation such as automated vehicles and smart contracts.

“Although we are operating in uncertain times, I am confident that our independence and ability to build consensus will help ensure that parliament can take forward law reform in these areas.”

The reform programme covers: a modern framework for disposing of the dead, administrative review, automated (driverless) vehicles, electronic signatures, employment law hearing structures, intermediated securities, modernising trust law for a global Britain, museum collections, registered land and chancel repair liability, residential leasehold, simplifying the immigration rules, smart contracts, surrogacy and unfair terms in residential leasehold.

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