The Commission on Justice in Wales (‘the Commission’) was established by the Welsh government to review the operation of the legal and justice system in Wales and set a long-term vision for the future.
Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, former lord chief justice of England and Wales, chairs the Commission, which is reviewing and assessing all aspects of the law and practice in Wales.
The Commission is assessing and providing solutions for the administration of justice; legal education and training; the business of law; and the use of Welsh.
The Law Society attaches great importance in understanding and taking account of the distinctive needs of consumers, citizens and the profession in Wales.
Recognising the distinctiveness of Wales has become more important in light of the growing body of law that is applicable only in Wales and the widening role played by the Welsh government in the delivery of justice in Wales.
We have actively contributed to the Commission’s work since the call for evidence was issued in February 2018 and have shared information and research on specific topics, including technology and the law and our work in relation to access to justice.
As a representative body, we have facilitated contributions from our members, including holding events for the Commission, and providing information to the secretariat.
This submission focuses on two of the Commission’s grounding principles: specifically, issues for rural practice and the business of law and its contribution to the Wales economy.
In summary, we recommend:
- legal services need to be thought of as a critical service for the public good in the same way as other citizen-centric services
- the Welsh government should be proactive in pursuing policies that support rural businesses to flourish and invest in critical infrastructure
- the Welsh government should be proactive in developing a jurisdictional solution to the accommodation of Welsh law and the distinct needs of Wales without creating barriers for the operation of justice or the ability of practitioners to work across England and Wales, and
- a shared regulatory system should be maintained and developed to accommodate Welsh and English law and practice.
The Commission is scheduled to report in 2019.
Find out more on the Commission website