Saturday, 25 March 2017

Why is Wales so slow in getting a distinct legal system?

Let me begin by saying I have very limited knowledge of Legal issues but I wonder why so few have?

When I was working for Customs and Excise in London in the early 90's the Library there had a copy of Robyn Lewis Welsh Legal Terms (Gomer Press 
As far as I know there has been (despite devolution) very little to expand this beyond a free dictionary on the Welsh Assembly website).

If you tried to look up Welsh Law  on the internet you will probably be directed  to English and Welsh Law and find this 


"Although devolution has accorded some degree of politicalautonomy to Wales in the National Assembly for Wales, it didnot have sovereign law-making powers until after the 2007Welsh general election when the Government of Wales Act 2006 granted powers to the Welsh Government to enact someprimary legislation. The legal system administered throughboth civil and criminal courts remains unified throughoutEngland and Wales. This is different from the situation ofNorthern Ireland, for example, which did not cease to be adistinct jurisdiction when its legislature was suspended (seeNorthern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972).A major difference is also the use of the Welsh language, aslaws concerning it apply in Wales and not in the rest of theUnited Kingdom. The Welsh Language Act 1993 is an Act ofthe Parliament of the United Kingdom, which put the Welshlanguage on an equal footing with the English language inWales with regard to the public sector. Welsh may also bespoken in Welsh courts.Since 1967 most lawyers have referred to the legal system ofEngland and Wales as "the Laws of England and Wales"following the Welsh Language Act 1967 as may be seen bylooking at the applicable law section of most commercialagreements from these countries. Before, from 1746–1967 thiswas not necessary (see below) but may have been done quite often nonetheless".

I wonder what other devolved power has so litte control over its law and criminal justice?

The Wasting Mule reports that 

New calls have been made for the recognition of a distinct Welsh legal jurisdiction as the UK prepares for the challenges of Brexit.

The Welsh Government argues that withdrawal from the EU will “accelerate” the development of a growing body of Welsh law.


The call comes as a major report from the Commons Justice committee on the implications of Brexit is launched. It warns that cooperation on criminal justice with the EU is so important that this is “too precious to be left vulnerable to tactical bargaining” in the upcoming negotiations.


Plaid Cymru argues that the case for a “separate legal jurisdiction” is “already overwhelming” and Welsh and English law will become more divergent if the Assembly gains powers today held by Brussels.

Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid’s constitutional affairs spokeswoman, said:


 “There is a crucial difference between working together cooperatively and maturely, and imposing a one-size-fits-all, ‘England and Wales’ shackle to important and intricate legal matters. Welsh democracy has developed over the last two decades to a point where Wales now has its own body of law that is increasingly distinct to that of England.
“We are the only country in the world that has a full law-making legislature operating without a corresponding legal jurisdiction. It is unsustainable and it is time that Westminster accepted that the UK is now a partnership of countries, working together maturely, rather than imposing its own archaic structures on all parts of the UK.”


A Welsh Government spokesman said:


 “A distinct Welsh legal jurisdiction is already developing with the growing body of Welsh law; the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will accelerate this development. There is no doubt that formal recognition of a distinct legal jurisdiction, moving in the direction of Scotland and Northern Ireland, would clarify powers and responsibilities to everyone’s benefit.”
As I said I have very little knowledge of legal issues, but I find it extraordinary  that in the since 1999 when the Assembly was established so little has been done to meet the changes that devolution has brought.

It almost as if that Labour and have deliberately avoided the issue Carwyn Jones in particular would seem to be highly placed to have pushed this

He  graduated from Aberystwyth University with an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree in 1988 and went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London to train as a barrister. He was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1989 and subsequently spent a further year in Cardiff in pupillage followed by ten years in practice at Gower Chambers, Swansea – specialising in Family, Criminal and Personal Injury law.[ He left the Swansea legal practice to become a tutor at Cardiff University for two years on the Bar Vocational Course.

In the Assembly was appointed Counsel General for Wales and Leader of the House on 2007.before  becoming Labour Leader and First Minister in 2009

Is it a symbol of his Laissez-faire  style of government or is it part of a deliberate policy that there has ben very little move to create a separate Welsh Legal jurisdiction?

The case seems unarguable if we are to compare ourselves with the other devolved  legislatures  (and legislatures is a key word here) , Why has it taken so long.




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