It was in the wake of the Government of Wales Act 1998 that the then Counsel General, Winston Roddick QC, saw a need to bring together all legal constituencies in Wales to meet the challenges and take up the opportunities presented by the new constitutional settlement.
With the encouragement of the then Senior Presiding Judge in Wales, Mr Justice Thomas, the Counsel General set up a body so that each of the legal constituencies would engage with the development of the new Welsh legal identity. He coined the phrase Legal Wales to describe that identity.
That body – the Legal Wales Foundation – has a membership that represents:
- the judiciary,
- the Counsel General,
- law schools,
- the legal services of the National Assembly for Wales and of the Welsh Government,
- the Courts and Tribunals Service,
- the Crown Prosecution Service,
- the Wales and Chester Bar, the Law Society,
- the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives,
- barristers’ chambers,
- solicitors’ practices.
The purposes of the Foundation include the provision of a forum for the discussion and formulation of views and proposals for action on issues affecting the administration of justice, the teaching and researching of law, and the provision of legal services as they affect Wales.
One of its main functions is to organise annual conferences in Wales concerning legal matters with particular reference to Wales. These attract such speakers as the Lord Chief Justice, Justices of the Supreme Court, Assembly Members, Chairs of the Law Commission and the Judicial Appointments Commission, practitioners and academics and are well attended.
The Foundation has recently initiated the Legal Wales Essay Competition for law students and young practitioners. The first prizes were presented by Baroness Hale in Llandudno in 2012.
The Foundation has also submitted responses to important consultations such as those by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee of the National Assembly and the Welsh Government on a separate Welsh jurisdiction.
The Constitution of the Legal Wales Foundation - click here