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Wales consults on becoming separate jurisdiction

28 March 2012

The Welsh Government has opened a formal consultation on whether Wales should become a separate legal jurisdiction akin to Scotland.

Currently, laws made in Wales still form part of the law of England & Wales, even if intended to apply in Wales only, in contrast to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A year ago the Welsh public voted in a referendum to give their National Assembly for Wales primary law making powers in 20 devolved policy areas. As a consequence, there has been much discussion about whether or not Wales should also be a separate legal jurisdiction.

The consultation seeks views on the specific aspects of a potential Welsh jurisdiction and the underlying issues beneath the broader questions of what is meant by the term “separate legal jurisdiction”, and what essential features are required, as well as the consequences of having a separate Welsh legal jurisdiction and the potential advantages and disadvantages.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "As First Minister, my overriding priority is to make devolution work so that we deliver our commitments to the people of Wales. The development of a legal system fit for a healthy and prosperous Wales is vital.

“The devolution of further powers to the Welsh Government and National Assembly will inevitably mean more distinct Welsh law applying in Wales in the future, which means the law that applies in Wales and the law that applies in England will become increasingly divergent.

“We now feel it essential that we have a public debate on whether or not Wales should be a separate legal jurisdiction, and the implications this could have for Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Click here to access the consultation,

which runs until 19 June 2012.

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