In a report launched today we are recommending ways to make the existing law applicable in Wales clearer and simpler, and suggesting an innovative approach to law-making.
Working out what the law is in Wales can be difficult for lawyers and other professionals, and particularly hard for members of the public. The volume of legislation, the number of amendments, the way legislation is presented and the lack of a single, up-to-date source, make it hard to find out what the law is. And the process of devolution is adding yet another layer of confusion, with existing statutes being amended differently in England and in Wales.
Our report recommends that significant areas of the law in Wales such as such as education, housing, health and planning should be consolidated and codified. And, to keep the law clear and easy to understand, amendments or future legislation should be made only by amending or adding to the code.
The report also looks at existing practices for drafting and interpreting bilingual legislation, and makes recommendations to help the Welsh Government and the judiciary develop and apply law made in the Welsh language.
Launching the report, Nicholas Paines QC, Law Commissioner for public law in England and Wales, said:
“We are at a pivotal point in the history of Welsh devolution and the development of a body of Welsh law. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for ground-breaking reforms to pave the way for clearer, simpler, more modern and more accessible legislation, that is easily and freely available, and readily understood by professionals and the public.”