In the Media

Political split on Welsh jurisdiction

PUBLISHED March 28, 2012

Thursday 29 March 2012 by John Hyde

Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan (pictured) has said there is 'no need' for a distinct Welsh legal jurisdiction as the country begins a debate on separation from England.

The Welsh government began a consultation this week on creating a new legal system. First minister Carwyn Jones is believed to be keen on the move.

However, any separate legal jurisdiction would need approval from Westminster, and Gillan is not convinced the proposal will work or is necessary.

She said: 'This is a surprising priority from the Welsh government and I am not clear on the problem that needs to be addressed. How would such a change benefit people or business in Wales?'

Gillan plans to consult the Ministry of Justice and senior members of the judiciary about how a separate jurisdiction would work.

Alan Meredith, Eversheds' senior office partner in Cardiff, told the Gazette that a separate jurisdiction would carry a risk of isolating Wales. 'It's an extra layer of complication that clients don't want,' he said. 'I don't think there is a sufficient body of Welsh law to justify it.'

Jones said devolution of further powers 'will inevitably mean more distinct Welsh law applying in Wales in the future'.