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Devolution: the law and policy
Devolution of law-making in Wales today means that the National Assembly for Wales can legislate on matters that are not reserved to the UK parliament. This is termed a reserved powers model.
Examples of areas that are reserved and therefore not devolved to the National Assembly include:
- the single legal jurisdiction of England and Wales, policing, legal aid, and prisons
- relations with the EU
- defence of the realm
- supply of electricity, oil and gas and nuclear energy
Dr Sarah Nason, lecturer in law at Bangor University, delivered our annual lecture on Wednesday 7 August at the National Eisteddfod in Wales.
The Law Society in Wales responds to consultations and works to influence law-making from policy development to implementation.
Here are some of our recent responses to the Welsh government and National Assembly for Wales consultations in the field of planning law:
Welsh Government consultation on fitness for human habitation - Law Society response
Manon Antoniazzi, the chief executive and clerk of the Assembly, announced that the Legislation (Wales) Act 2019 has been granted Royal Assent. Assembly Members were recalled early from recess to debate Brexit and the prorogation of the UK parliament.
Assembly Members approved the Legislation (Wales) Bill following a stage four debate in the Senedd. Jeremy Miles issued a written statement on the rapid review of the Welsh government’s support for the legal sector in Wales.
This month, amendments to Stage three of the Legislation (Wales) Bill were discussed. Barry Hughes, chief crown prosecutor gave evidence to the Children, Young People and Education Committee on the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) Bill.
The Welsh government introduced the Health and Social Care (Quality and Engagement) (Wales) Bill, which would expand the duty of quality on NHS bodies, establish an organisational duty of candour and replace community health councils with an all-Wales citizen voice body.
Conservative AM Janet Finch-Saunders asked at Counsel General questions about the potential impact of the creation of a Welsh legal jurisdiction on lawyers.
Welsh Assembly members unanimously passed a motion to agree the General Principles of the Legislation (Wales) Bill which aims to make Welsh legislation clearer and more accessible. Welsh rates of income tax came into force on 6 April 2019.
The Law Society was referenced extensively in the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee’s Stage 1 report on the Legislation (Wales) Bill. The Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Bill and the Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Bill were passed.
The Assembly Commission introduced the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill, which includes provisions to reduce the voting age to 16 and change the name of the Assembly to Senedd. The Welsh government published its Tax Policy Work Plan.
The Law Society gave evidence to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee inquiry into the Legislation (Wales) Bill. The counsel general announced a rapid review of the Welsh government’s support for the legal sector.