The Institute was established in 2001 by agreement between the State Government, the University of Tasmania and the Law Society. The functions of the Institute include the review of laws with a view to:
- the modernisation of the law
- the elimination of defects in the law
- the simplification of the law
- the consolidation of any laws
- the repeal of laws that are obsolete or unnecessary
- uniformity between laws of other States and the Commonwealth
The Institute may receive proposals for law reform or research projects from a wide range of sources, including the judiciary, the Attorney-General, the Legal Aid Commission, government departments, the Parliament, the legal profession, members of the community and community groups.