Welsh government pushes for separate Wales jurisdiction

The Welsh Government has stated that dedicated Welsh courts and judges with expertise in the law of Wales are required in order to form a separate jurisdiction from England.

Whilst concerns have unsurprisingly been raised over how this could affect practice rights for solicitors who work across the border, the government has aimed to quell these doubts, stating ‘There is no reason for Welsh practitioners to be excluded from the English legal jurisdiction and English law, and vice versa.’

The message from the Welsh government is in the form of evidence submitted today (08/06/18) to the Commission on Justice in Wales. Established in 2017 and chaired by former lord chief justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Commission was tasked to review the Welsh justice and policing system.

The notion of a completely separate Welsh jurisdiction has been a continual topic of debate in Wales, with first minister Carwyn Jones highlighting last year that the Commission on Justice would be a vital step on the way to “developing a distinctive justice system which is truly representative of Welsh needs.”

The document released today compared the Welsh devolution process to that of Scotland, stating that it had instead been an ‘ad hoc, piecemeal process’, and whilst significant improvements had been made, ‘Wales’ constitutional arrangements remain highly unconventional’.

Indicating the strength of their view, it goes on to state that the single legal jurisdiction of England and Wales is ‘a relic of history’, and highlights divergence in areas such as housing, stating that ‘it is no longer sensible to speak of the law of England and Wales’.

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