SAVE THE DATE
2018 Legal Wales Conference
More details to follow
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DRAFT LEGISLATION (WALES) BILL
The Counsel General, Jeremy Miles AM has opened a 12 week public consultation on the Draft Legislation (Wales) Bill. The proposed legislation will impose obligations on ministers and the Counsel General to make laws more accessible and it makes a provision about the interpretation of Welsh legislation. The aim is for Wales to move towards a distinct, codified jurisdiction with the publication of draft legislation designed to make laws more accessible and to facilitate the use of the law in Welsh.
COMMISSION ON JUSTICE IN WALES
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones has established a Commission on Justice in Wales. The Commission is to be chaired by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd when he steps down from his responsibilities as Lord Chief Justice in England and Wales. Other members of the Commission includes, Simon Davies, Professor Elwen Evans QC Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones, Juliet Lyon CBE, Sarah Payne CBE, Professor Rick Rawlings, Peter Vaughan QPM CStJDl and Sir Wyn Williams.
The terms of reference are to review the operation of the justice system in Wales and set a long term vision for its future with a view to:
The work of the Commission will begin in December and conclude in 2019 with a report of findings and recommendations.
PRO BONO AND SIGNPOSTING ACTIVITY AT THE EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL
There are various initiatives ongoing with a view to signposting unrepresented parties to sources of help and advice as follows:
1) ELIPS - an advice clinic run by professional volunteers at the Employment Tribunal, providing on the day advocacy for hearings and ad hoc advice. This is a collaboration between Employment Lawyers Association, Bar Pro Bono Unit, LawWorks and the Free Representation Unit
2) Streetlaw – a project with local universities and BPP launching in November 2017. Students will provide information to unrepresented parties about how to prepare for and what to expect at a hearing; and
3) ET leaflets (South & Mid Wales and North Wales) signposting pro-bono organisations providing legal and other support, this is available in the public areas at ET and is posted to the parties upon receipt of claim
RETIREMENT OF LORD CHIEF JUSTICE
A Dinner was held in honour of Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd to mark his retirement as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. This was hosted by the Counsel General for Wales at the Senydd Neuadd.
Legal Wales thanks Lord Thomas for the work that he has undertaken, especially in Wales. Legal Wales welcomes the new Lord Chief Justice, Sir Ian Burnett.
OPENING OF THE LEGAL YEAR
The Opening of the Legal Year took place on 8th October 2017 at Llandaff Cathedral. Llandaff Cathedral is a great building dating back to the 12th century although it was updated after damage by storms and wars.
The service replicates the service that takes place in Westminster for those concerned with the administration of law. Those present included all members of the judiciary - Judges, High Sheriffs Barristers, Solicitors and CILEx.
Readings were given by the new Lord Chief Justice Rt Hon The Lord Burnett, Professor Hope, High Sheriff of Gwynedd and The Hon Mrs Justice Nicola Davies, Presiding Judge of Wales. After a sermon by the Bishop of Llandaff, prayers were read by Mr Alwyn Ellis, Magistrate Bench Chairman. The ceremony ended with the National Anthems.
LEGAL WALES CONFERENCE
The Conference took place on 15th September 2017 in the Great Hall complex at Swansea University’s Bay Campus. The Great Hall with its adjacent galleries from which there are spectacular views of Swansea Bay, was an attractive venue.
There were 171 registered delegates. The programme comprised plenary and breakout sessions in 3 strands - Legal Education and Practice, Public Law, Civil and Social Rights. Two of the four Public Law strands were delivered in Welsh with simultaneous interpretation.
During the lunch break, delegates were able to mingle informally with speakers and guests.
The Conference ended with a Reception hosted by The Law Society. Sponsorship of the event was provided by The Law Society, Wales and Chester Circuit CILEx, University of Wales Press. The feedback from attendees was very positive.
INAUGURATION OF THE BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS IN WALES
In March 2017, the Lord Chief Justice announced the forthcoming introduction of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales. These Courts which are to be based in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Wales as well as London, will provide a single umbrella for courts specialising in business and property work. They will thus encompass the Chancery Division, the Commercial Court, the Mercantile Court and the Technology and Construction Court and will create a super-highway between courts in London and those elsewhere in England and Wales to ensure that international businesses and domestic enterprises are equally supported in the resolution of their disputes.
The Business and Property Courts in Wales are to be officially opened by the Lord Chief Justice on 24th July 2017 at Cardiff Civil Justice Centre, 2 Park Street, Cardiff CF10 1ET.
Diversity and Community Relations Judges (DCRJ): who we are and what we do
DCRJs are serving judicial office holders, appointed from across the courts and tribunal system.
DCRJs work in a voluntary capacity to engage with the communities we serve; providing information about the judiciary, the work we do and how we are appointed. We also have a remit to encourage legal professionals and law students to consider a career in the judiciary, with a particular focus on individuals from under-represented groups. Finally, we are available to assist judicial colleagues and/or act as role models on diversity/community relations issues.
In the outward looking element of our role, we aim to increase public confidence in the legal system by enhancing understanding and knowledge about what we do and who we are; the aim is to dispel myths about the judiciary.
The way in which each DCRJ fulfils their role is individual, however examples of community engagement include:
By sharing your story; your background and how you were appointed, you can raise awareness that there are multiple pathways to a judicial career.
Details of DCRJs based in Wales can be found at the following link:
If you are interested in hosting a meeting or event and wish to enquire about the attendance of a DCRJ, please contact Jacqueline McLean of the Judicial Office on: Jacqueline.McLean@judiciary.gsi.gov.uk
EJ Sian Davies
Cardiff Employment Tribunal
1 December 2016
Children’s Legal Centre (‘the CLC’) Initial Request for Support Letter - click here
The Board of Legal Wales responds to the Ministry of Justice consultation on Further Reforms to arrangements for Judicial Review.
The Board has responded to the Ministry of Justice’s proposal that statutory challenges and applications for judicial review in the field of Town and Country Planning should be transferred from the Administrative Court to an Upper Tribunal Chamber which would specialise in Planning and Land cases. The Board has emphasised:
To read the Board’s full response, click here
Legal Wales congratulates Sir John Thomas on being appointed Lord Chief Justice
The Chair of the Board of Legal Wales, Judge Milwyn Jarman QC, has written to Sir John Thomas to congratulate him on his appointment as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. Sir John, who was brought up in Cwmgiedd in the Swansea Valley, was a Presiding Judge of Wales between 1998 and 2001 and was one of those who instigated the founding of the Legal Wales Conference. He has attended the Conference regularly over the years and the 2013 Conference will be an opportunity for him to explain to delegates his vision of the role of the judiciary in modern Wales.
Legal Wales response to the Ministry of Justice proposals to reform criminal legal aid
The Board of the Legal Wales Foundation has responded to the Ministry of Justice consultation document “Transforming legal aid: delivering a more credible and efficient system” expressing concern at the proposal to remove the element of choice between legal aid solicitors and to reduce the number of criminal legal aid providers in Wales by 80%.
In the view of the Board these changes would:
To read the Board’s full response, click here