UK Supreme Court justice moots codification of Welsh law

Lord Lloyd-Jones
Lord Lloyd-Jones

Welsh legislation could take the form of US-style codes dealing with particular subjects in the future, a Supreme Court justice has suggested.

In a speech delivered to the Association of London Welsh Lawyers earlier this month, Lord Lloyd-Jones highlighted an approach suggested by former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd – that the Welsh Assembly could develop a system of codes to remedy the “complexity and inaccessibility” as well as “impenetrability” of Welsh legislation.

The result would be that statute law would “appear in a properly organised form, set out systematically in chapters”, the Supreme Court justice said.

He added: “This is an approach which has been advocated for some time by the former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. His point is that Wales is free from the fetters of tradition so far as the drafting of legislation is concerned and that, if Wales thinks sufficiently boldly and innovatively, legislation drafted in Cardiff can improve on that produced in Westminster.”

The Law Commission of England and Wales has taken the idea up in its project on the codification of the law on sentencing procedure.

“It hopes to replace a mass of different statutory provisions with a single code which will be the only required point of reference for practitioners and judges. It is easy to think of subjects in the devolved areas which might benefit from a similar treatment; education and planning law spring to mind,” Lord Lloyd-Jones said.