The innovative laws of Welsh king Hywel Dda which predate Magna Carta by nearly 300 years, Global Law Summit delegates will learn today. 

Described as Britain’s most enlightened law-maker, Hywel Dda or Hywel the Good was a 10th-century Welsh King who brought together learned men from across Wales to Whitland in Pembrokeshire in around 930 AD when traditional rights and duties, some already dating back hundreds of years, were codified for the first time.

He created Wales’ first formal legal system some 1085 years ago which became known for its wisdom and justice and recognised the legal status of women and children. It was in force in Wales until the Act of Union with England in 1536.

Documents drafted according to the 'Laws of Hywel Dda' survive to the present and images will be reproduced on the Welsh Government’s Legal Wales stand at the Summit’s Business Services Exhibition.

Welsh economy minister Edwina Hart said that Hywel Dda was centuries ahead of his time. 'The Global Summit provides us with a great opportunity to highlight the fact that Wales has a very long history of innovation when it comes to the development and delivery of law. We will be using the summit to promote Wales and our capital city internationally as a great – and cost effective - location for legal firms to expand. 

The legal sector is part of the rapidly growing financial and professional services sector, with many companies having substantial operations in Cardiff including Eversheds and Blake Morgan. The strategy is to make Wales the largest centre for financial and professional services sector outside of London.