The Advocate General for Wales said the Welsh Government “strongly supports” the Law Commission’s recommendations for an overhaul of the courts system in Wales.
Mick Antoniw, MS of Pontypridd and Minister for the Constitution, welcomed the “basic principles of recommendations” submitted by the Law Commission to the Senedd for the introduction of a new first tier court in Wales to replace a system ” complex and obsolete”. .
The commission found that the court system in England and Wales evolved haphazardly, with individual departments creating courts when they thought it was necessary.
This has resulted in gaps and inconsistencies in legislation and variations in processes and procedures, such as rules relating to judicial appointments.
After a consultation that ended in March this year, the Law Commission presented a final proposal report at the Senedd this week, outlining its recommendations for devolved courts in Wales.
According to the Law Gazette, Mr Antoniw said: ‘Not only do the commission’s proposals correct the shortcomings of the current ad hoc structures in place in Wales, but they perpetuate the system of courts, allowing new functions to be conferred by the future legislation. without having to create entirely new administrative bodies and arrangements
“In short, the Law Commission’s proposals go a long way towards creating the capacity to enforce Welsh law through Welsh institutions.
“In doing so, they are consistent with the conclusions of the Justice in Wales Commission on the importance of building the capacity of the justice system in Wales.”
Plans to reform the justice system in Wales were unveiled in December 2020 in a bid to tackle the existing ‘fragmented and complicated’ system after problems were identified by the Wales Justice Commission in 2019.
The proposed new first tier court would be divided into chambers including property, education, mental health and Welsh language.
An Appeals Tribunal will hear appeals and there will be a new avenue of appeal from School Admissions Appeals Committees to the Education Chamber.
The commission says this would increase the independence of school exclusion appeal boards, which would no longer be organized by the local authority whose decisions are being challenged.
The new system will operate independently of the Welsh Government by establishing a Courts Administration Service for Wales.
The change is welcomed by the governing body of the Valuation Tribunal for Wales who commented: “The proposal would appear to strengthen the independence of the Welsh Courts Unit and distance it from the Welsh Government.
“This organizational separation is a necessary element in establishing a truly independent court system for Wales in the eyes of its users.”
Nicholas Paines QC, Commissioner for Public and Welsh Law, said: “The legal system in Wales is complex and outdated and does not respond effectively to the needs of the Welsh public. It is clear that an overhaul is needed.
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