New bill to make Welsh law more accessible introduced

4 Dec 2018 11:43 AM

Legislation to make Welsh law more accessible, clear and straightforward was yesterday introduced into the National Assembly by the Counsel General for Wales, Jeremy Miles AM.

This is a significant moment in the evolution of Welsh legislature, as for the first time a bill which has the law itself as its subject matter will be presented.

This Legislation (Wales) Bill is made up of 2 main parts.

Part 1 seeks to put in place a system which imposes an obligation on Welsh Ministers to keep the accessibility of the law under review and to take action to make it more accessible. Although a UK-wide problem, the inaccessibility of the law is more acute in Wales as it is set against a complex devolution settlement, a shared legal jurisdiction with England and our responsibility to make laws in both English and Welsh.

Part 2 is about the interpretation and operation of Welsh legislation; it contains bespoke rules for Wales that enable us to shorten and simplify legislation and make it more consistent.

Counsel General, Jeremy Miles yesterday said:

“For many years, the complexity of the law in the United Kingdom and the disorganised state of our vast sprawling statute book has been a major concern.

“This Legislation (Wales) Bill will start us on a new journey to make Welsh law more accessible to everyone.

“A clear, certain and accessible statute book is an economic asset and gives those who do business in Wales a more stable and settled legal framework, helping investment and growth.

“It also enables public sector bodies and other organisations to more easily understand the legal context within which they operate, and makes law-making more efficient and effective.

“But most of all, making the law accessible is a matter of social justice. In an age where access to legal advice is becoming harder and harder due to legal aid cuts, it’s incumbent on governments and legislatures to make sure that citizens can easily find and understand the laws that set out their rights and responsibilities.”