Counsel General for Wales

First published:
3 December 2018
Last updated:

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The Legislation (Wales) Bill and the accompanying Explanatory Memorandum have today been laid before the National Assembly.

The purpose of the bill is to make Welsh law more accessible, clear and straightforward to use. It makes provision about the interpretation and operation of Welsh legislation, and requires the Counsel General and the Welsh Ministers to take steps to improve the accessibility of Welsh law.

The Welsh Government agrees with the Law Commission’s view that making our statute book more accessible can only achieved through a long term, enduring, commitment to resolving the problem. Part 1 of the bill proposes that there will be a programme of activity for each Assembly term. Whilst the specific content of future programmes will be a matter for the Welsh Ministers and the Counsel General at that time, each programme must make provision to consolidate and codify Welsh law, maintain codified law and to facilitate use of the Welsh language.

We have been considering a possible structure for the codified law, and today I am also making available to Members a Draft Taxonomy for Codes of Welsh Law. Although this is still a working document, I nonetheless hope it will provide a helpful insight into our initial thinking.

Part 2 contains provisions about the operation and interpretation of Welsh legislation, developing for Wales a feature of statute books across the common law world, including in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is intended to sit alongside the UK Interpretation Act 1978, which will continue to apply to pre-existing legislation and to legislation that is not within devolved competence.

I will make an oral statement about the bill to the National Assembly tomorrow. A copy of the bill and its supporting documentation are available on the National Assembly’s website.