Last week, the Commission on Justice in Wales received evidence from the Welsh Government strongly advocating Welsh Courts, and Judges with expertise in Welsh law, to create a separate jurisdiction from England.
The Commission was formed last year to review justice and policing in Wales. The discussion of whether devolution in Wales should work alongside a wholly separate jurisdiction has long been the subject of fierce debate, which is unlikely to stop anytime soon.
But, First Minister Carwyn Jones described the Commission as an ‘important step towards developing a distinctive justice system which is truly representative of Welsh needs’. And, the new document offers some comfort to solicitors who work across the border, following the suggestion that a separate jurisdiction could one day affect practice rights.
While the Wales Act 2017 grants the devolution of powers for environment and housing, policing and justice remain reserved to Westminster. Divergence between English and Welsh laws will be varied across sectors, with its impact on commercial law likely to be nominal.
Drawing comparisons with the Scottish devolution process, the Welsh Government noted how devolution in Wales had been an ad hoc/piecemeal process – and was far from ideal. As far as the Welsh Government is concerned, significant improvements need to be made in what many see as a highly unconventional constitutional arrangement.