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‘Justice should be devolved to Wales’

Commission on Justice in Wales publishes report

The Commission on Justice in Wales has published its report, Justice in Wales for the people of Wales, recommending that justice be devolved to Wales. 

The report concludes:

"Justice should be determined and delivered in Wales so that it aligns with its distinct and developing social, health and education policy and services and the growing body of Welsh law. Policy would be developed and funding allocated to meet the needs of and provide greater benefit for the people of Wales."

In respect of family justice, the Commission found that there is a complex division between the responsibilities of the Welsh Government and the Westminster Government. It notes:

"There has been an unsustainably high increase in the number of children being taken into care in Wales, with significant variations between local authorities. Often it is not in the best interests of the child to be taken into care as the consequences to the child and society can be disadvantageous."

The Commission considers that funds would be much better spent on support for children and their families to prevent problems arising. Whilst it welcomes the Welsh Government's recent initiative to hold local authorities to account for reducing the number of children in care, those placed out of county and those removed from parents with a learning disability, the Commission considers that significant further action to tackle this issue is essential in both the short and longer term.

In respect of access to justice, the Commission found that the significant cuts to legal aid made in 2012 have hit Wales hard. Proper access to justice is not available with the consequent threat to the Rule of Law. This has resulted in:

Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister of Wales, welcomed the report. He said:

"The publication of the Commission's report is an important landmark.  It is the product of an unprecedentedly broad survey of the many challenges faced in providing an effective justice system for Wales. The comprehensive approach and the range of evidence gathered is unlikely to be repeated."

For the report, click here. For a summary, click here.