UPDATE: Researching Welsh Law: What is unique in Wales?
By Lillian Stevenson & Dr. Catrin Huws
Dr. Catrin Fflur Huws provided the first section on The Welsh Legal System. She studied law at Aberystwyth University as an undergraduate and also as a postgraduate, obtaining her PhD in 2005. Catrin is currently a lecturer and Director of the Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs in the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University.
Lillian Stevenson is Academic Services Manager and Law Librarian at Aberystwyth University. She studied law at Birmingham University and Sheffield University and information studies as a postgraduate at the College of Librarianship Wales, now the Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University. Subsequently she worked in legal publishing and as Law Librarian at Manchester Metropolitan University and Norton Rose, City law firm in the United Kingdom.
This guide is intended as an introduction to researching Welsh law and includes a brief overview of the development of the Welsh Legal System.
Published January 2014
Table of Contents
1.1. Welsh Legal History
1.4. Welsh Language
2. Legal Wales
2.1. "Legal Wales"
188.8.131.52. Content Tab
184.108.40.206. Advanced Features
220.127.116.11. Explanatory Notes Tab
18.104.22.168. More Resources Tab
5.1.2. Wales Statutory Instruments
22.214.171.124. Table of Contents Tab
126.96.36.199. Content Tab
8.2. Citing the Law
9. Welsh Law Journals and Other Secondary Sources
9.3. Wales Law Journal
9.4. Statue Law Review
Until the 16th century, there were some indigenous Welsh laws. However, these laws did not apply to the whole of Wales. The earliest example of indigenous Welsh Laws dates back to the thirteenth century, although they are associated with the tenth century prince, Hywel Dda and therefore known as Cyfraith Hywel or the Laws of Hywel. However, as early as 1284, the Statute of Rhuddlan had applied a modified form of English law to parts of Wales, though the Marcher Lordships and the Principality of Wales continued to use its own customary laws for long time after this. The Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542 provided that Wales would thereafter be governed by the law of England. However, a separate courts system existed until 1830, known as the Court of Great Sessions. Click here for the Crime and Punishment Database of The National Library of Wales.
On an international level and as a matter of UK constitutional law, Wales is part of the United Kingdom, and therefore reference should be made to the material on United Kingdom law. On a domestic level, Wales is part of the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales, and therefore the constitutional structure, the structure of the courts and the law-making process for legislation made by the Westminster Parliament in relation to Wales are as described in relation to England and Wales in the material on United Kingdom law. However, there are significant and emergent differences to which attention must be drawn.
The Government of Wales Act 1998 transferred certain functions of the Secretaries of State to the National Assembly for Wales . Although the National Assembly for Wales could only pass secondary legislation, it also had the power to initiate Wales only bills for consideration by the United Kingdom Parliament. Examples include the Act and the Health (Wales) Act 2003.
In 2006, the Government of Wales Act 2006 devised two schemes for Wales to make primary legislation. The first of these was under Part III of the Act, and permitted the National Assembly for Wales to pass primary legislation known as Measures subject either to the subject matter of the measure being within the competence of the National Assembly for Wales. Although the procedure under part 3 was cumbersome, a number of Measures were passed by the National Assembly for Wales between 2007 and 2011.
In 2011, pursuant to a referendum, Part IV of the Government of Wales Act 2006 was brought into force. Part IV allows the National Assembly for Wales to pass primary legislation on 20 areas within its legislative competence as are detailed in Schedule 7 of the Government of Wales Act 2006.
The Government of Wales Act 2006 also changed the structure of the legislature and the Government. Therefore, whereas the scheme devised by the Government of Wales Act 1998 did not create a separate legislature and executive, the 2006 Act creates a separate executive body known as the Welsh Government. Nevertheless, the relationship between Wales and Westminster continues to be complicated. Accordingly, a Welsh Government Consultation took place in 2012 addressing whether, and under what conditions Wales should be identified as a separate jurisdiction. Litigation has been undertaken on two occasions regarding whether legislation enacted by the National Assembly for Wales has been within its competence. These cases are:
· Attorney General v National Assembly for Wales Commission and Others  UKSC 53 and
· Badger Trust v Welsh Ministers  EWCA Civ 807.
Another area where Wales diverges from England relates to the law relating to language. Section 22 of the Welsh Language Act 1993 permits the Welsh Language to be spoken by any party, witness or other person who desires to speak it. Furthermore, section 111(5) the Government of Wales Act 200629 provides that the National Assembly must enact all its legislation bilingually, with equal standing being given to both versions of the text.
“Legal Wales” is used here to encompass the development of post devolution law making powers through a selection of key documents, reports and speeches and the body called Legal Wales.
David Lambert, ‘Legal Wales: Its Past, Its Future’ Welsh Legal Historical Society, 2001, pages 167-181.
· Welsh Assembly Government, All Wales Convention (Cardiff, Welsh Assembly Government, November 2009). Results of consultation about how laws are made in Wales and whether law-making powers in Wales should be extended in the future.
· The Hon. Mr. Justice Roderick Evans, Devolution and the administration of justice(Swansea University, The Lord Callaghan Memorial Lecture 2010, 19th February 2010)
· National Assembly for Wales, Inquiry into the establishment of a separate Welsh jurisdiction. (Cardiff, National Assembly for Wales, various dates) Background on developments leading to the Inquiry.
· National Assembly for Wales, Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Inquiry into the establishment of a separate Welsh jurisdiction. (Cardiff, National Assembly for Wales, 9th December 2011)
· Welsh Government, A separate legal jurisdiction for Wales: consultation document. (Welsh Government, 27 March 2012)
· David Lloyd Jones to the Wales Governance Centre Annual Lecture in Aberystwyth in March 2013. The Law Commission and law reform in a devolved Wales.
· National Assembly for Wales: Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. Inquiry into a Separate Welsh Jurisdiction. December 2012.
· Welsh Government. Evidence Paper. Evidence submitted by the Welsh Government to the Commission on Devolution in Wales. 18 February 2013
The Law Society Wales Office
Cardiff CF10 3AG
Telephone: 02920 645254
Fax: 02920 225944
The Law Society, Wales, Separate Jurisdiction: Inquiry into the establishment of a separate Welsh jurisdiction.(The Law Society, February 2012, CLA WJ 21).
· Lord Gwilym Prys Davies, The National Assembly: A Year of Laying the Foundations(The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, Llanelli 9 August 2000).
· Michael Jones, Changing a Camel into a Horse: observations on necessary improvements in the constitution of Wales.(The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, 2002).
· Emyr Parry, The high street solicitor in Wales. (The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, 2003)
· Emyr Lewis, Minority languages in the new Europe—a bit of a headache for those who believe in order? (The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, Newport, 2004)
· Thomas Glyn Watkin, Legal learning in contemporary Wales: opportunities and dangers. (The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, 2005)
· Sir Roderick Evans, Legal Wales—the way ahead. (The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, 2006)
· Elfyn Llwyd, The scales of justice: the modern challenge. (The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, Flintshire & District, 2007).
· Carwyn Jones, Law in Wales – the next ten years. (The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, Cardiff and District, 2008).
· The Rt Hon the Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas PC AM, Wales’s new constitution—the first two years. (The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, Meirion & District, 2009).
· (The Law Society, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Annual Law Lecture, 2010)
2.2. Conferences of Legal Wales
Legal Wales as an entity was established in 2001 as a cross-sectoral body consisting of representatives from the legal profession and legal academics and references to its conference reports are included.
· The Hon Sir Gary Hickinbottom, Administrative Justice in Wales: A new dawn? (Cardiff, 8th October 2009)
· The Rt Hon The Lord Judge, Speech by Lord Judge to the Legal Wales Conference. (Cardiff, 9th October 2009)
· The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Pill, Speech by Sir Malcolm Pill to the Legal Wales Conference (Cardiff, 9th October 2009)
· Bush, Keith, Conference Organiser. Legal Wales Conference scans the horizon. Legal Wales Conference 11 October 2013.
The bibliography, Devolution and the New Legislative Bodies in the UK (since 1997) produced by Aberystwyth University Library Staff and also published in Cambrian Law Review is primarily concerned with secondary sources, including articles, books and reports, which relate to the process of devolution within the United Kingdom and to the working of the various legislative/executive bodies which have been set up within the United Kingdom, namely the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Greater London Authority.
The National Assembly for Wales and devolution in Wales: A Bibliography is produced by the Library of the National Assembly for Wales. It is updated frequently and covers different aspects of devolution including its history, the various commissions including the Silk Commission and importantly a section on Law.
4. Sources for the Legislative Process
This covers sources of Welsh law following the Government of Wales Act noted in section 1. The National Assembly for Wales web site is the key resource for the legislative process. The web site is in the public domain and provides information on the progress of Assembly Bills, Subordinate Legislation (which includes orders, regulations, rules, schemes and also statutory guidance and local orders), Legislative Consent Motions, and Information on Legislation from 2007-2011.
This covers sources of Welsh law following the Government of Wales Act noted in section 1.
In the public domain where no subscription is needed, the key resource for Welsh legislation is Legislation.gov.uk produced by The National Archives on behalf of HM Government. It provides authoritative versions of legislation as enacted and as amended in Welsh and English and for Measures, the geographical extent, timeline of changes, explanatory notes, lists of changes since 2002 and the Order in Council approving the Measure.
It describes the authoritative versions as “The original (as enacted) and revised versions of legislation on Legislation.gov.uk are published by and under the authority of the Controller of HMSO (in her capacity as The Queen's Printer of Acts of Parliament, and Government Printer of Northern Ireland) and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.” Click here for more information about Legislation.gov.uk.
The Browse tab gives an interactive map that gives access to legislation applying exclusively or primarily to Wales. The full text, Table of Contents and Explanatory Notes of Measures are available from 2008 in English, Welsh and often mixed language for the original as enacted copy. The latest revised copy is available in English but may not be completely up to date and there are warning notices to this effect. Wales Statutory Instruments are available from 1999 in English, Welsh and often mixed language for the original as made copy. Wales Statutory Instruments are not available in their revised form here. Wales Draft Statutory Instruments are made available as necessary. The “More Resources” tab provides changes made to the revised version.
The New Legislation tab is the official place for new legislation and has a separate tab relating to Wales.
In more detail as exclusively or primarily applying to Wales:
The full text of Measures is available from inception in 2008 and in different versions/formats:
· Latest available (revised)
· Original (As enacted) – English
· Original (As enacted) – Welsh
· Original Print PDF – English
· Original Print PDF – Welsh
· Original Print PDF – Mixed Language
· Geographical Extent
· Show Timeline of Changes
· Opening Options (for viewing)
“Text created by the Welsh Assembly Government department responsible for the subject matter of the Measure to explain what the Measure sets out to achieve and to make the Measure accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Measures of the National Assembly for Wales”
· The Associated Documents include pdfs of the Explanatory Notes (Welsh, English and mixed language) and the Order in Council by which Her Majesty approves the Measure of the National Assembly for Wales
· Original Print PDF of as enacted version
· List of all changes (made to the revised version after 2002)
· Sections that “Confers power” and “Apply Blanket Amendments” to the revised version
5.1.2. Wales Statutory Instruments
The full text of Welsh Statutory Instruments are available from 1999 and searchable by year and Heading (subjects such as Education, Land) and in different versions/formats. Please note: Wales Statutory Instruments are not carried in their revised form on legislation.gov.uk site.
Lists the individual provisions of each regulation according to the version chosen through the What Version option, which helps browsing. Gives access to further options:
· The What Version covers Original (As made) in English and Original (As made) in Welsh.
· Opening Options provides different views and more or less content at one time
· More Resources gives the Original Print PDF in Mixed Language and leads to separate tab (below) through “View more”.
Provides the full text each regulation with consecutive provisions on each page according to the version chosen through the What Version option. The same options are available as under the Table of Contents tab i.e. What Version, Opening Options and More Resources.
· The Associated Documents
· Original Print PDF of as enacted version
· List of all changes (made to the revised version after 2002)
BAILII “is a non-profit making charitable trust which is building and operating an interactive database of full text primary legal materials available without charge on the Internet. BAILII provides, by utilizing low-cost methods, a growing amount of primary and secondary legal material which can be browsed by the user and/or located by using the BAILII search engine.”[] In a Welsh context it provides free access to Measures made by the National Assembly for Wales from 2008 onwards and Welsh Statutory Instruments from 1999 onwards, the latter based on legislation.gov.uk noted above. In each case, titles can be browsed alphabetically or by year.
This section covers sources of Welsh law following the Government of Wales Act noted in section 1 but for which a subscription or payment is required for access to the electronic versions.
· Lawtel UK contains the original versions of the Measures made by the National Assembly for Wales in English and Welsh.
· Westlaw UK contains the Measures of the National Assembly for Wales, UK Acts for Wales, UK Statutory Instruments for Wales and UK Local Acts for Wales. These are fully searchable or can be browsed by year or title and are in their updated form. Use the Advanced Search for Historic Law or Prospective Law.
· Lexis contains the Measures of the National Assembly for Wales. These are fully searchable or can be browsed by year or title and are in their updated form. There is a Historical Versions Email Service by which an enactment or provision can be requested.
This covers sources of Welsh law following the Government of Wales Act noted in section 1.
Current Law Legislation Citator (London, Sweet & Maxwell, annual and cumulative) includes:
· Commencement Orders for Measures of the National Assembly for Wales in the “Statute Citator – Acts of the Parliament of England, Wales & the United Kingdom section”. They are in running number order interfiled with statutes of the United Kingdom Parliament. They have a zero added before the nawn/number to differentiate them from statutes of the United Kingdom Parliament.
· Wales Statutory Instruments amended, repealed, modified, judicially considered, consolidated and made during the period covered by the Citator are included in the “Statutory Instrument Citator – Statutory Rules issued by the UK Parliament”. They are arranged in running number order under the appropriate year i.e. Assembly Learning Grants (European University Institute) (Wales) Regulations 2009/3359 (W.295) is under 3359. 295 is the running number sequence for Welsh Statutory Instruments.
Halsbury’s Statutes: Is it in Force? (London, LexisNexis, biannual with Summer and Winter editions) and updated by the “Is it in Force” section of Halsbury’s Statutes Noter-up Service volume, includes:
· Commencement dates for Measures of the National Assembly for Wales, which are interfiled with Acts from the United Kingdom, all of which are in alphabetical order within the appropriate year.
8. Referencing and Citing Welsh Legal Authorities
OSCOLA “is designed to facilitate accurate citation of authorities, legislation, and other legal materials. It is widely used in law schools and by journal and book publishers in the UK and beyond” [] and is edited by Oxford Law Faculty and an Advisory Board. It provides the following information at relating to Wales p. 25:
Welsh measures are primary legislation of the Welsh Assembly. They are cited by short title and year, followed by the National Assembly of Wales Measure (nawm or mccc) number in brackets.
Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008 (nawm 2)
Mesur Teithio gan Ddysgwyr (Cymru) 2008 (mccc 2)
Cite parts of Welsh measures as for parts of UK Parliament statutes (section 2.4.2).
Statutory instruments of the Welsh Assembly are cited in the same way as other statutory instruments, but the SI number is followed by a Welsh SI number, in brackets. Statutory instruments made at Westminster that apply to Wales are cited in the same way as UK statutory instruments (see sections 2.5.1 and 2.5.3).
The Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008 (Commencement No 2) Order, SI 2009/2819 (W 245)
Gorchymyn Mesur Teithio gan Ddysgwyr (Cymru) 2008 (Cychwyn Rhif 2) SI 2009/2819 (Cy 245)
Cardiff University has produced an online tutorial to accompany OSCOLA, entitled Citing the Law, which includes a section on Welsh Legislation:
· Measures of the National Assembly for Wales:
Measures of the National Assembly for Wales, the primary legislation made by the Assembly between 2006-2011, are cited by short title followed by the year then the National Assembly for Wales (nawn) number in round brackets. If writing in Welsh, use the Welsh title of the measure and the abbreviation mccc.
Example: Red Meat Industry (Wales) Measure 2010 (nawm 3)
· Statutory Instruments:
Statutory Instruments are cited by title, year then SI number followed by a Welsh SI number, prefixed by W (or Cy if writing in Welsh) in round brackets.
Example: The Tuberculosis (Wales) Order 2011, SI 2011/692 (W 104)” []
This was first published in 2001 and there are currently 7
· Thomas Glyn Watkin (ed), Legal Wales: its past, its future: essays dedicated to Professor Dafydd Jenkins on his ninetieth birthday. (Welsh Legal History Society, Vol. 1, 2001)
· Thomas Glyn Watkin (ed), The trial of Dic Penderyn and other essays. (Welsh Legal History Society, Vol II, 2002)
· Thomas Glyn Watkin (ed), Y cyfraniad Cymreig = Welsh contributions to legal development. (Welsh Legal History Society, Vol III, 2003)
· Sir William Jones; David J. Ibbetson (ed), An essay on the law of bailments. (Welsh Legal History Society, Vol IV, 2004)
· T. M. Charles-Edwards and Paul Russell (eds), Tair colofn cyfraith = The three columns of law in medieval Wales: homicide, theft and fire. (Welsh Legal History Society, Vol V, 2005)
· Thomas Glyn Watkin (ed), The Garthbeibio murders and other essays. (Welsh Legal History Society, Vol VII, 2007)
· Richard W. Ireland (introduced and annotated) and Robert I. Ireland (transcribed and ed), The Carmarthen gaoler's journal 1845-1850. (Welsh Legal History Society, Part One Vol VIII & Part Two IX, 2008-9)
· Welsh Legal history society/Cymdeithas Hanes Cyfraith Cymru: Includes Research & resources e.g. Carmarthen Gaol Felons Register 1844-1871, which is searchable, and has 1447 records, some with photographs.
The Cambrian Law Review has been published annually by the Department of Law & Criminology of Aberystwyth University since 1971. It is available in print and online through a subscription Heinonline. Currently there are themed editions.
Law Journal—Cylchgrawn cyfraith Cymru. Cardiff, Vol 1, 2001—Vol 2,
To reflect the impact of policy on the development of law in Wales, there was a change of title in 2003 to Wales Journal of Law and Policy - Cylchgrawn cyfraith a pholisi Cymru. Cardiff, Vol 3, 2004 – Vol 4, 2005 when it ceased publication.
This special issue is a significant contribution to the commentary on Welsh law, containing eleven articles.
See also the “Law” section of The National Assembly for Wales and devolution in Wales: A Bibliography.
· Robyn Lewis, Geiriadur newydd y Gyfraith (Saesneg-Cymraeg): The new legal dictionary (English-Welsh). (Llandysul: Gwasg Gomer, 2003. Previous editions in 1972, 1992, 1996). The editions have grown substantially in size from 226 pages in 1972 to 1234 pages in 2003 reflecting the growth of law making powers within Wales through devolution and the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales.
· Dewi Llyr Jones, Delyth Prys, Owain Lloyd Davies (eds), Geiriadur Termau’r Gyfraith: Dictionay of Legal Terms. (Bangor: Bangor University, 2008). This is aimed primarily at students studying law through the medium of Welsh and concentrates on subjects required for a Qualifying Law Degree in England and Wales.
· Timothy Lewis, A glossary of mediaeval Welsh law based upon The Black Book of Chirk. (Manchester: University Press, 1913).
· Aberystwyth University Department of Law & Criminology which has the Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs Canolfan/Materion Cyfreithiol Cymreig The Centre was established in 1999 to focus on distinct Welsh legal developments but within United Kingdom, European and international contexts.
[] BAILII in a Nutshell – About BAILII http://www.bailii.org/bailii/
[] Oxford Law : OSCOLA http://www.law.ox.ac.uk/publications/oscola.php
[] Information Services, Cardiff University, Citing the Law https://ilrb.cf.ac.uk/citingreferences/oscola/tutorial/page11.html