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I am pleased to inform the Assembly that the Law Commission will be undertaking a new project to review the law governing the operation of the devolved Welsh tribunals and make suggestions for reform.  

The Law Commission said in its 13th Programme of Law Reform that it wanted to undertake at least one Wales-only project once an appropriate area of work had been identified. This is that project.

Existing rules and procedures for the various devolved Welsh tribunals are complicated and inconsistent, having developed piecemeal from a wide range of different legislation. Much of this legislation was developed before devolution, and also before tribunals were recognised as involving exercise of the judicial function of the state, rather than the executive function. Further, the legislation does not take into account the role of the President of Welsh Tribunals, introduced by the Wales Act 2017.

The project will consider matters relating to a new Tribunals Bill for Wales, designed to regulate the operation of a single system for tribunals in Wales.

The review will cover 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 of Presidents/Deputies;
  •  power to make and standardise procedural rules;
  • appeals processes;
  • complaints process;
  • protecting judicial independence. 

The project will take twelve months and will commence in 2019.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.