WALES – Consultation opens on separate jurisdiction for Wales

The Welsh Assembly
Welsh Assembly members have begun consulting on the establishment of a separate legal jurisdiction for the principality.

The assembly’s constitutional and legislative affairs committee will spend the next two months assessing how a separation from England would work in practice.

The issue of a separate jurisdiction ‘has become a matter of public interest and discussion,’ the committee’s chair, David Melding, said.

‘The committee believes these developments provide a good opportunity for the technical aspects of this question to be examined and has therefore agreed to conduct an inquiry.’

The consultation will focus on how to define ‘separate Welsh jurisdiction’ and the potential benefits, barriers and costs involved.

Assembly members will also want to know the practical implications for the legal profession and the public, and will look at how other jurisdictions using a common law system operate in the UK.

A referendum in March last year gave the Welsh Assembly extensive law-making powers. First Minister Carwyn Jones is known to be keen to explore the possibilities thus created.

A recent opinion poll found a small majority of the Welsh public in favour of a distinct jurisdiction, although assembly members from both the two main UK parties have expressed reservations about radical change.

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