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Making justice work in Wales – Law Society response

The proposals

The Senedd Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee is conducting an inquiry on making justice work in Wales.

In October 2019, the Commission on Justice in Wales published a report on Justice in Wales for the People of Wales (PDF 6 MB).

The commission made recommendations that fall specifically to the Senedd, including that it should be more proactive in scrutinising how the justice system operates, and monitoring and reviewing progress on justice reform.

The committee has agreed the following terms of reference:

  • consider the existing operation of justice functions in Wales
  • identify and review the current funding arrangements for justice matters
  • learn lessons on the approach to scrutiny of justice from UK and other legislatures
  • consider how the Senedd could have a more proactive role in the scrutiny of justice
  • consider the implications, consequences and practicalities of any potential justice devolution
  • consider the impact of relationships between UK and Welsh competence on specific justice matters and to identify areas of concern
  • identify and map the Senedd and Welsh government’s existing responsibilities and functions relating to the scrutiny of justice matters
  • explore any areas of concern in the balance of justice powers and accordingly whether a more coherent and joined up approach to justice policy could be achieved

Our view

We welcome the Thomas Commission’s long-term vision for the future of justice in Wales.

As the body of Welsh law grows, it's important that due consideration is given to the distinct needs of the Welsh public and the legal profession as they seek to ensure their businesses remain vibrant and sustainable going forward.

We've called for a holistic, coordinated and non-partisan approach to system planning and delivery; one until now impeded by the jagged edge of Wales’ devolution settlement and political impasse.

Within our response, we've made specific recommendations in relation to:

  • legal aid
  • criminal justice system
  • the legal profession
  • investment in technology
  • business support
  • Welsh language and the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)

Next steps

The consultation closed on 4 June 2020.

The committee is now considering the responses.

Read the consultation on the Senedd website

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