A Welsh jurisdiction and a devolved justice system are inevitable, the country’s senior legal officer said today. Counsel General Jeremy Miles AM told the Legal Wales conference in Aberystwyth that the Legislation (Wales) Bill, to be introduced later this year, 'will set Wales on a new journey to develop clear, accessible codes of law - a first for the UK'.
Miles said making the law accessible to citizens has become increasingly important because of repeated cuts to legal aid. To begin the process of codification Legislation Bill will be accompanied by a draft Taxonomy of Codes, which will aim to organise Welsh law into comprehensive codes by the subject areas devolved to Wales.
The Welsh Government is already working with the National Archives to develop a clearer and more accessible system of categorisation of law, prior to its future consolidation, Miles said. 'This will enable us to organise the publication of legislation by subject matter, rather than by the date it is made, which will be a significant breakthrough.'
The counsel general also announced plans to revamp the Law Wales website. 'This site already serves a useful purpose but it remains a work in progress and its content is limited,' he said. 'I recognise that the content on the website falls short of people’s expectations, not least mine. If each of us as practitioners, legislators, academics, commentators and others in the Welsh legal community shared a small part of our experience and expertise, by producing content for Law Wales, this would have a huge impact.
'Collectively we can transform this asset from something that is little known and under used into a genuine public good for the people of Wales,' he said.
Overall, a process has begun to create a distinct legal infrastructure for Wales, Miles concluded. 'This is a process that won’t stop. The process of making laws for Wales won’t stop, the divergence in laws between Wales and England won’t stop. The creation of a Welsh legal jurisdiction and the devolution of the justice system is inevitable.'