The Charter Act 1833 which was enacted by the British Parliament provided for the establishment of a Law Commission for consolidation and codification of Indian Laws. The said Act provided for the addition of a fourth ordinary Member to the Governor General in Council for India who was to be a legal expert in the making of laws. Lord Macaulay was appointed as the fourth ordinary Member and was entitled to participate in the meetings of the Governor General in Council for making of laws.
In 1835, Lord Macaulay was appointed as Chairman of the First Law Commission. Sir James Stephen was appointed as a Law Member in place of Lord Macaulay. At that point of time a separate department known as the Legislative Department was functioning as a sub-division of the Home Department managed by an Assistant Secretary who prepared the draft Bills needed for legislations.
During 1869, it was felt that so important duty ought to be entrusted to a distinct department and thus a separate department known as the Legislative Department was constituted. After the constitution of the Legislative Department, proposals for legislations were initiated by the concerned Department dealing with the subject matter and thereafter the Legislative Department used to take charge of the Bill. The Secretary to the Legislative Department was also Secretary to the Council of the Viceroy for the purpose of making laws. He and the Law Member drafted all the Bills which were placed before the Council. Due to the labours of the Law Commission many important Acts were enacted during the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. To name a few, the Indian Penal Code which is still in force was the product of the original work of Lord Macaulay. Similarly, the draft contained in the First Report of the Third Law Commission formed the basis of the Indian Succession Act passed by the Governor General and Council under the guidance of Sir Henry Maine. It codified the law relating to the effect of death and marriage upon succession to property and also the law relating to Bills. The Second Report (1866) contained a draft Contract Bill which became law after revision by Sir James Stephen in 1872.