Devolved Tribunals in Wales

Current project status

  • Initiation: Could include discussing scope and terms of reference with lead Government Department
  • Pre-consultation: Could include approaching interest groups and specialists, producing scoping and issues papers, finalising terms of project
  • Consultation: Likely to include consultation events and paper, making provisional proposals for comment
  • Policy development: Will include analysis of consultation responses. Could include further issues papers and consultation on draft Bill
  • Reported: Usually recommendations for law reform but can be advice to government, scoping report or other recommendations

We are reviewing the structure of devolved tribunals in Wales, to create a modern, flexible tribunal system.

Download the consultation paper here.

Download the summary here.

Download an easy read version of the summary here.

This page, and various documents, are available in Welsh here.

Problem

A tribunal is a body set up to settle disputes and to review public bodies’ decisions. But the rules and procedures for the devolved tribunals in Wales are complicated and inconsistent, and in some instances, unfit for practice.

The rules and procedures governing tribunals in Wales have developed piecemeal from a wide range of different legislation.

Much of the legislation was developed outside the devolution process, resulting in gaps in the legislation.

Changes made by the Wales Act 2017, for example, have not been taken into account, including the existence of the President of the Welsh Tribunals and the extended scope of the Senedd’s competencies.

Our consultation

In our consultation paper, published on 16 December 2020, we make a number of proposals for reform of the devolved tribunals in Wales. These include:

  • Replacing the existing separate tribunals with a single unified first-tier tribunal, broken down into chambers catering for similar claims.
  • Bringing the Valuation Tribunal for Wales and school exclusion appeal panels within the new unified first-tier tribunal.
  • Reforming the Welsh Tribunals Unit (the part of the Welsh Government which currently administers most devolved tribunals) into a non-ministerial department.
  • Standardising the processes for appointing and dismissing members of the tribunals, and introducing a greater role for the President of Welsh Tribunals.
  • Standardising procedural rules across the tribunals, and introducing a new Tribunal Procedure Committee to ensure that the rules are kept up-to-date.

Our terms of reference

The Law Commission has been asked to make recommendations to help shape the Tribunals Bill for Wales, designed to regulate a single system for tribunals in Wales.

The project covers issues including:

  • the scope of a tribunal system for Wales
  • the roles of the President of Welsh Tribunals and the Welsh Tribunals Unit
  • appointment and discipline of Tribunal judges and other members
  • appointment judicial leads of tribunals
  • powers to make and standardise procedural rules
  • appeals processes
  • complaints processes
  • protecting judicial independence

Next steps

The consultation has now closed, and the team is analysing responses. We will publish a final report with our recommendations towards the end of 2021.

Contact

By email at DevolvedTribunalsWales@lawcommission.gov.uk.

Documents and downloads

Project details

Area of law

Public law

Commissioner

Nicholas Paines QC