Jeremy Miles, Counsel General
Earlier this year I launched a 12 week public consultation on the Draft Legislation (Wales) Bill. The Bill proposes imposing obligations on the Welsh Ministers and the Counsel General to make Welsh laws more accessible, and also makes bespoke provision about the interpretation of Welsh legislation.
The consultation on the Draft Bill closed in early June and I am pleased to issue a summary of responses today.
We received 20 written responses from across the UK from legal professionals, academics and law students, representative bodies, individuals and the third sector. We also had the opportunity to discuss our proposals at three stakeholder engagement events, including one organised by the Law Society Wales. I am grateful to everyone who responded to the consultation and generously shared their knowledge and experience.
I was pleased to see the significant support for the proposals to improve the accessibility of Welsh law. Stakeholders agree there is a need to take substantive action as soon as possible, whilst also recognising that the task of consolidating and codifying Welsh law will take a significant period of time. Respondents consider the proposed duty is necessary to support this work, to bring about real and meaningful change, and to ensure that successive Governments are accountable for improving access to the law. Respondents also welcomed the impact the proposals would have on increasing the availability of laws applicable in Wales in the Welsh language and the enhancement of the use of the Welsh language as a language of law. I have also found the responses particularly helpful in identifying areas where it will be important to maintain some consistency with the existing arrangements for statutory interpretation of the law, and where there are opportunities for innovation by making changes to better reflect Wales’ constitution.
In line with my programme for improving the accessibility of Welsh law, I am keen to provide clarity and certainty for users of Welsh legislation so that they can access and use it with confidence.
The consultation responses represent a valuable source of views, information and ideas which will inform the development of the legislative proposals in the Bill for introduction into the National Assembly later this year.
The summary of the consultation responses is available here:
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep Members informed. Should Members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.