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27 May 2009
The future of the Welsh legal landscape was the focus of this year’s prestigious annual Ewan Davies lecture at Cardiff Law School.
Organised by the Centre for Professional Legal Studies, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Counsel General and Leader of the House Carwyn Jones AM, addressed a packed audience of legal professionals describing how Wales was embarking on one of the most exciting and significant decades to date for Legal Wales.
A barrister and former tutor at Cardiff Law School, Carwyn Jones examined what Welsh Assembly legislative powers mean for lawyers, and the impact a change in government in London will have on the Assembly. His lecture ‘Getting the Devolution Dividend; Legal Wales in the next ten years,’ also looked at how these changes have had a greater impact than was ever envisaged and how the Act represented the biggest potential for the transfer of power since the creation of the National Assembly for Wales in 1999.
Carwyn Jones AM, said: "We need to continue to develop and change in order to meet the new demands of devolution in Wales. The real test of the system will be how it operates when there are governments of different political complexion in Cardiff and London.
"The next ten years in the life of Legal Wales will be the most exciting and the most significant, certainly since the abolition of the Court of Great Sessions and possibly since the year 1536. It’s essential that all of us are ready for those challenges in order to get the devolution dividend."
During the lecture he also explained the workings of the new legislative system and how the Assembly has gone about producing new legislation, such as the NHS Redress (Wales) Measure 2008, to become as productive as Scotland’s Parliament, despite the challenges it faced as it developed a whole new area of expertise. He then spoke about the process of divergence between English and Welsh law and its positive implications for the future of Legal Wales, including opportunities for academics to examine and review Welsh law, and a ‘devolution dividend’ for practising lawyers.
Ian Brookfield, Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies at the School said: "We were delighted to welcome Carwyn Jones back to the Law School. His lecture provided a fascinating insight into the exciting developments taking place in Wales and the impact they will have for everyone living here as well as everyone engaged in the legal profession and teaching and research."
Ewan Davies made a substantial contribution to the legal and the University communities; he was a Justice of the Peace, Chairman of the Cardiff magistrates and a president of the Cardiff Law Society. This year’s lecture was the 15th in the Ewan Davies series and previous speakers include Cherie Booth QC, Carolyn Kirby, President of the Law Society, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, and Roy Morgan, President of the Cardiff and District Law Society.
To read the full lecture transcript please go to: www.law.cf.ac.uk/publiclecture/transcripts/index.html
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