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WELSH LAW is the primary and secondary legislation generated by the National Assembly for Wales
Wales
, according to devolved authority granted in the Government of Wales
Wales
Act 2006 . Each piece of Welsh legislation is known as an Act of the Assembly . The first Assembly legislation to be officially proposed was called the NHS Redress (Wales) Measure 2008 . These powers have been effective since May 2007. It is the first time in almost 500 years that Wales
Wales
has had its own laws, since Cyfraith Hywel , a version of Celtic law , was abolished and replaced by English law
English law
through the Laws in Wales
Wales
Acts , passed between 1535 and 1542 by King Henry VIII .

CONTENTS

* 1 Legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales
Wales
* 2 Areas to legislate: The devolved areas * 3 Referendum to make Acts of the Assembly * 4 English law
English law
and contemporary Welsh law
Welsh law
* 5 Wales-only laws * 6 Wales
Wales
as a jurisdiction * 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References * 10 External links

LEGISLATIVE COMPETENCE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR WALES

Both the Government of Wales
Wales
Act 1998 and the Government of Wales
Wales
Act 2006 set out areas of devolved responsibility for the National Assembly for Wales
Wales
(commonly known as the Welsh Assembly). The 2006 granted the Assembly legislative competence to make laws (known as Assembly Measures ) in clearly defined "matters". In order to draft laws that are part of its area of responsibility, but where the powers of legislative competence have not been devolved to it, the Welsh Assembly could request these powers using a Legislative Competency Order or they can receive the transfer of power and the right to make laws through parliamentary bills.

Each Order in Council for an area of legislation must be approved by the Secretary of State for Wales
Wales
, both Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
, and the Queen in Council in order for the Assembly to legislate in that area. Once the Queen has approved the Order, the new area of legislative competence is added to Schedule 5, Part 1 of the Government of Wales Act 2006. There is a Counsel General for Wales
Wales
who oversees the approval and creation of these laws, and gives advice to the Welsh Government .

The 2006 Act also included provisions which would allow for a referendum to be held on whether to grant the Assembly legislative competence to pass primary legislation to be known as "Acts of the Assembly" in all matters within 20 subject areas without the need for further Legislative Competency Orders. A referendum under these provisions was held in March 2011 and resulted in a vote in favour of granting the assembly the competence to pass the Acts of the Assembly. Therefore, the Assembly now has the legislative competence to pass Acts of the Assembly in all 20 devolved subjects.

Following the devolution of legislative competence to the Welsh Assembly in some area of responsibility, it is unlikely that the UK Parliament would draw up legislation in that area without a Legislative Consent Motion
Legislative Consent Motion
being passed by the Welsh Assembly
Welsh Assembly
to allow them to do so (Assembly Standing Order 26). This is done to preserve the autonomy of the Welsh Assembly, and to prevent legislative confusion.

AREAS TO LEGISLATE: THE DEVOLVED AREAS

The Royal Badge of Wales
Wales

These areas are "subjects" where the National Assembly for Wales
Wales
can make legislation in the form of an Act of the Assembly .

* Agriculture
Agriculture
, fisheries , forestry and rural development * Ancient monuments and historic buildings * Culture * Economic development
Economic development
* Education and training * Environment * Fire and rescue services and promotion of fire safety * Food
Food
* Health and health services * Highways and transport * Housing * Local government
Local government
* Public administration
Public administration
* National Assembly for Wales
Wales
* Social welfare * Sport
Sport
and recreation * Tourism
Tourism
* Town and country planning * Water
Water
and flood defence * Welsh language
Welsh language

The Assembly can also legislate in areas that affect only the Assembly itself, which is why the National Assembly for Wales
Wales
field is added.

REFERENDUM TO MAKE ACTS OF THE ASSEMBLY

See also: Welsh devolution referendum, 2011

The Welsh Assembly
Welsh Assembly
was able to make only Assembly Measures, but the Assembly was given the option to call for a referendum, with added approval from the UK Parliament
UK Parliament
, to make Acts of the Assembly. This would not change much of the Assembly Measures system, and if the referendum should win, the Assembly Measures passed before that date would still be in force. It was considered that Assembly Measures are a build on to the Acts of the Assembly if the Assembly would these powers in future.

The referendum was held on 3 March 2011. The majority of the participants voted 'Yes' to the question "Do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for?".

Even so, future Welsh order in council laws may face veto from the UK Parliament, but the Assembly still is able to make laws in areas already devolved because once the referendum is approved, there are powers that are already in the government of Wales
Wales
Act 2006 to make laws already approved by parliament when the act was passed. The Assembly can still request to make laws in areas using the Order in Council system but if the UK Parliament
UK Parliament
wants to legislate in a devolved area, it will require a motion to be passed by the Welsh Assembly, similar to the way the Scottish Parliament work at present. The power to make Acts of the Assembly are called Subjects, which are listed in schedule 7, part 1 of the Government of Wales
Wales
Act 2006 .

ENGLISH LAW AND CONTEMPORARY WELSH LAW

See also: English law
English law

English law
English law
still apply to Wales
Wales
under the present devolution settlement. Contemporary Welsh law
Welsh law
will govern the local aspects of Welsh life whilst English law
English law
will govern the more generic aspects. Because these laws are derived from UK Acts of Parliament, some people consider this new system of laws to be another branch of English law
English law
. Unlike Scotland
Scotland
, for example, which has its own criminal and civil justice system , Wales
Wales
still has a unified justice system with England . The 'One Wales' Labour/Plaid Cymru deal also has an area for devolution of a Criminal and Youth Justice System to this new legal system.

It is important to note, that English law
English law
still applies in Wales, but it will also be important to say that some laws in England, that are devolved in Wales, may not apply in Wales. It is also possible to say that once the Assembly has legislative competency in an area to legislate using Acts of the Assembly, the National Assembly could lead Wales
Wales
down a different route compared to English law. It's possible to say that there could be some acts that would be illegal in Wales, but not illegal in England
England
and Scotland. For example, using an electric shock collar on a cat or dog in Wales
Wales
is illegal, but it's still legal in the rest of the UK.

WALES-ONLY LAWS

There are Acts of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Parliament that are classed as " Wales-only laws ". Each Act contains provisions for the Welsh Assembly to make subordinate legislation on. Sometimes such Acts can also confer power to the National Assembly for Wales
Wales
. An example of such a Wales-only law is the Transport (Wales) Act 2006 . This Act allows the National Assembly to make Orders to enforce the provisions in the Act. The Act does not confer power to the Assembly to make Assembly Measures.

A major difference is also the use of the Welsh language
Welsh language
, as laws concerning it apply in Wales
Wales
and not in England. The Welsh Language Act 1993 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which put the Welsh language
Welsh language
on an equal footing with the English language in Wales
Wales
with regard to the public sector. Welsh can also be spoken in Welsh courts.

WALES AS A JURISDICTION

As there is no criminal law within contemporary Welsh law, Wales cannot be considered a fourth jurisdiction of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
. This is because the judiciary and the courts follow England
England
and Wales law, which is made by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Parliament , and is not specific to Wales. Although Welsh law
Welsh law
is recognised as separate in operation, this is not sufficient for Wales
Wales
to constitute a separate legal jurisdiction. If the One Wales
Wales
agreement is successful, before 2011, this may change, as the agreement calls for a review of criminal justice matters in Wales, and the question of whether it should be devolved to Wales; currently, however, there is no devolution of justice to the Assembly .

SEE ALSO

* Schedule 5 of the Government of Wales
Wales
Act 2006 *