Model Acts

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

Page 98

Statutes and court rules drafted by the American Law Institute (ALI), the AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION (ABA), the COMMISSIONERS ON UNIFORM LAWS, and other organizations. State legislatures may adopt model acts in whole or in part, or they may modify them to fit their needs. Model acts differ from UNIFORM ACTS, which are usually adopted by the states in virtually the same form proposed by the American Law Institute and other organizations.

The ALI was founded in 1923 by a group of American judges, lawyers, and law professors. Its goal was to resolve uncertainty and complexity in American law by promoting clarification and simplicity in the law. Since its founding, the organization has worked with other scholarly organizations to draft model and uniform statutes that may be adopted by the various state legislatures.

One of the most successful of ALI's model acts is the MODEL PENAL CODE. First adopted in 1962, it has had a major influence on the way that states draft penal codes. In fact, the majority of states revised their penal codes based upon the provisions of the Model Penal Code. The code attempts to, among other things, create uniformity in such controversial areas as the authority of the courts in sentencing and how to define specific crimes, including criminal HOMICIDE and KIDNAPPING. In 2002, the ALI announced that it was launching a reexamination and revision of the sentencing provision of the code.

The ABA also approves drafts of model laws and rules. The Model Business Corporation Act (MBCA) is an example of a model act approved by the ABA that was implemented successfully. The MBCA was first adopted in 1950 and revised substantially in...

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