Welsh law a step closer to “codification”

(Title Image: Wisegeek)

Yesterday, the Senedd undertook Stage 3 scrutiny of the Legislation Bill.

At a Glance Guide

Stage 1 report (summary)

  • The Bill places a duty on the Welsh Government to make Welsh law more accessible, which will be done in part through a series of consolidation Bills which will include all legislation passed to date in any given devolved policy area in one place (i.e a consolidation Bill for the environment, a Bill for agriculture, a Bill for health).
  • It will be a bilingual interpretation Act, ensuring that the language and definitions in Welsh law are consistent in both English and Welsh.

Major Changes at Stage 2

Stage 2 proceedings were undertaken by the Constitutional Affairs Committee, while the Member in Charge of the Bill is the Counsel General, Jeremy Miles (Lab, Neath).

  • The duty to make Welsh law more accessible has been expanded to include the promotion and awareness of Welsh law.
  • The Welsh Government will have to report annually on progress made under accessibility.
  • Makes it clear that Welsh language and English language versions of Bills have equal status.

The Key Amendments at Stage 3

Amendment 1 – Suzy Davies AM (Con, South Wales West)
Places a duty on the Welsh Government to fully review and report on the effectiveness of their “accessibility” programme by the end of 2023.
Vote: Rejected – 24 for, 27 against
Reason for Rejection: There’s already a clear commitment to review the effectiveness of the Bill before the mid-point of the Sixth Assembly.

Amendment 5 – Counsel General, Jeremy Miles
Includes any EU laws and regulations retained in UK and Welsh law after Brexit so they can be referenced in relation to future legislation.
Vote: Agreed unanimously.

Amendment 13 – Dr Dai Lloyd AM (Plaid, South Wales West)
Inserts an expanded definition of “accessibility” which includes a responsibility towards bilingual publication and to ensure legislation is “easy to understand and certain in its effect”.
Vote: Agreed unanimously.

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