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Justice in Wales?

6 August 2018

Richard Wyn Jones

Could a distinct Welsh justice system improve access to justice, reduce crime and promote rehabilitation?

The future of the current single ‘England and Wales’ justice system is being called into question as variations between the laws of the two countries increase.

The Welsh Government last year established a commission to review the system’s operation in Wales.

So the timing could not be better for Professor Richard Wyn Jones, Director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, and Welsh legal experts to consider the matter at this year’s National Eisteddfod.

Hosted by the National Assembly for Wales, Justice in Wales takes place at Societies Tent 2 on Friday 10 August from 12:00 and features:

  • Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones, member of the Commission on Justice in Wales and Partner at Agri Advisor
  • Fflur Jones, Partner at Darwin Gray

Professor Richard Wyn Jones has explained Wales is in an “anomalous situation” internationally, with an executive (Welsh Government) and legislature (Welsh Assembly), but no associated jurisdiction and justice system.

“The Welsh Government and a majority in the National Assembly support the devolution of justice and the establishment of a Welsh jurisdiction,” he said.

“This, as well as the establishment of the Commission on Justice in Wales chaired by the former Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, means that it is a particularly opportune moment to debate how well the justice system is currently functioning in Wales and how it might evolve and change in future.

“In the background, of course, we have the UK government decision to open western Europe’s second largest prison in Wrexham and proposals for another titan prison in south Wales. Developments with major implications for health and social services across the nation.”

The work of Wales Governance Centre is contributing to the Commission on Justice.

The Centre’s Justice and Jurisdiction is an interdisciplinary project bringing together political scientists, constitutional law experts and criminologists in order to investigate:

  • the operation of the justice system in Wales
  • the relationship between non-devolved and devolved policies
  • the impact of a single ‘England and Wales’ legal system

The Centre recently published Welsh-specific data on the prison system which revealed the performance of prisons in Wales and where prisoners were being held.

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