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Welsh Government unveils plan to consolidate laws into Welsh legal code

The Counsel General for Wales, Mick Antoniw, has announced plans for a major programme to build a distinct body of Welsh law.

The project will see laws in areas devolved to Wales brought together and set out in distinct ‘Welsh law’, rather than in laws that also apply to England or the rest of the UK, he said.

This will involve laws in areas such as education, tax, local government, planning and housing being consolidated, and becoming part of a Welsh legal code.

Once codified, all of the law, from Assembly Acts to guidance, would, for the first time, be published together and available in one place - on the Cyfraith Cymru/Law Wales website, in both English and in Welsh.

The process of beginning to consolidate and codify Welsh laws will begin during this Assembly term, prior to the adoption of a formal Consolidation and Codification Programme from the 6th Assembly onwards.

Antoniw said: “As a young legislature, with relatively new powers to legislate, we in the National Assembly for Wales have a unique opportunity to bring order to the laws we have inherited and to take a different approach to making new laws in future. We can lead the way in the United Kingdom by starting on a path of consolidation and codification of our law.

“The new programme of codifying and consolidation I’m announcing today will enable us to bring most of the law on devolved subjects together in one place – something that has never been done before in the UK.

“This will help ensure our laws are accessible – so that we know what the law is, and where the law is. It will also ensure the laws of Wales are fully bilingual - helping to further develop the Welsh language as a language of the law. It would in future make the work in developing new laws, and in scrutinising them, considerably more straightforward and efficient.

“Undertaking this work will bring worthwhile gains, given the social benefits it would bring to the people of Wales, in terms of the efficiency gains it would produce for the public and third sectors, the financial benefits it could bring to our economy and the clarity it would help bring to our highly complex constitution.”