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Written Statement - Public Debate: Separate Welsh Legal Jurisdiction

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Carwyn Jones, First Minister

In March of this year the people of Wales voted for the Assembly to have the power to pass Acts of the Assembly across the whole range of subjects within the 20 devolved fields.

As a government we have previously made it clear that the question about whether Wales should be a separate legal jurisdiction would become more prominent in the event of a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum.

The Counsel General and I are agreed that this is not simply a matter for politicians and civil servants to discuss. The debate must be much wider than that and we need to obtain the broadest range of views possible, and not just from the legal community.

We must be clear about what we mean by a separate jurisdiction. What are the prerequisites for its existence? What flows from it? What might be the benefits for the people of Wales?

Early next year the Welsh Government will initiate a public debate on this issue. We will start by inviting the widest possible views from within and outside Wales. The responses we receive will help to inform the Welsh Government’s thinking in preparation for the work of the Commission on the Welsh devolution settlement which the Secretary of State for Wales has indicated she will shortly appoint. Assembly Members’ views on the issues will be particularly welcome as the debate goes forward.