I am pleased to confirm that the Law Commission has now commenced a project to review the law governing the operation of the devolved tribunals in Wales and to make suggestions for reform.
The rules and procedures for the various devolved Welsh tribunals have developed piecemeal from a wide range of different pieces of legislation, making them complicated and inconsistent. Much of the legislation was developed outside of the devolution process, which has resulted in gaps and inconsistencies which are not fit for a modern tribunal system for Wales, and this remains the case despite some changes made by the Wales Act 2017, which created the role of the President of Welsh Tribunals.
The project will make recommendations intended to remove these complexities and will consider matters relating to a new Tribunals Bill for Wales, designed to regulate the operation of a single system for tribunals in Wales.
The project will cover issues including:
(a) The scope of a tribunal system for Wales
(b) The roles of the President of Welsh Tribunals and the Welsh Tribunals Unit
(c) Appointment and discipline of Tribunal judges and other members
(d) Appointment of Presidents/Deputies
(e) Power to make and standardise procedural rules
(f) Appeals processes
(g) Complaints process
(h) Protecting judicial independence.
Work on the project has begun and the Law Commission is now engaging with stakeholders in Wales. A consultation paper will be published later in the year, followed by a final report in the summer of 2021.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.