Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Wales needs its own legal system if it is to make laws.

The Wasting Mule reports that the Welsh Government had to amend a law to remove the terms “half-blood” and “illegitimate” when referring to families in a law regulating mobile home sites – after they put them in themselves.

Curiously the Mule claims that  
The blunder emerged after the Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler criticised “unfortunate terminology” used in the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act, which was passed last year, which saw the offensive terms inserted when defining family members covered by the law.
But later write that 
 The government only deleted the terms when Plaid Cymru AM Jocelyn Davies raised “grave concerns” about their use in a modern law, which Mr Black acknowledged during a scrutiny hearing was “not really acceptable in this day and age”
So who gets the credit.

The section itself read


 “Any relationship by marriage or civil partnership as a relationship by blood, any relationship of the half blood as a relationship of the whole blood and the stepchild of any person as the person’s child”, while it added in a separate clause: “an illegitimate person as the legitimate child of the person’s mother and reputed father”.

And that's the problem  unless you have legal training how can you understand the language used .

The law was a Private Member’s Bill brought forward by Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Peter Black, but was essentially brought under the resources of the Welsh Government from the second stage of its passage, which it introduced a raft of amend

Despite this Blogs reputation as a "Peter Black Basher". I can't really blame Peter here like most AM he  come up with a idea which even if all the Assembly Members agree relies on other to word it in the legalise needed to ensure there no constant drift to the courts to ward of challenges.

Mr Black said it used the Caravan Sites Act of 1968 as a template, importing the outdated terms in definitions. The Welsh Government said it regretted the error.


Dame Rosemary cited it as an example of “poor practice” and “points of concern” in a submission to an Assembly inquiry into how laws are being drafted.
She also argued that there was a “reliance” on UK legislation as a model for Wales, adding: 
“For example, the Agricultural Sector (Wales) Bill was very closely based on a 60-year-old Act and imported weaknesses from that legislation including problematic definitions”, while she complained too much time in the chamber was taken up correcting translation and drafting errors that could be solved in the drafting process.
So this is not really a failure of the Assembly  but a failure of Wales not having its own legal system having to rely on archaic Westminster legislation.

If out Assembly are to make laws then we need a separate legal system able to interperate   laws with a specific Welsh twist.

But maybe we also use this to create a fresh approach to the use of legal language. Making it clearer .


Whilst I was working for HMCE in London I was delighted to see that they had a copy of Robyn Lewis "Welsh Legal Terms". J D Lewis & Sons Ltd; 1st edition (12 Jun 1972)


Clearly we need a root and branch approach approach to Welsh Laws if we are going to have a modern legislature in Cardiff Bay if we are not face similar problems as wee start making welsh Laws for Welsh People.

1 comment:

  1. Off topic worth sharing this video from a Yes Scotland campaign meeting from a former UK ambassador on the true nature of the UK/Westminster elite https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIQ8VVn8AJA&feature=share

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