In brief

Welsh government calls for devolution of justice powers

Official report justifies demand by growing “divergence” of laws in England and Wales

The Welsh Parliament, or Senedd.
The Welsh Parliament, or Senedd. Author: Ismail Mia @ Flickr
The Welsh government has released a report on reforming the justice system in Wales, calling for the transfer of justice powers. These powers remain in the hands of the UK government.

The report, Delivering Justice for Wales, says devolution is “natural, desirable, and inevitable” as a result of the growing “divergence” of “law and practice” between England and Wales after more than 20 years of devolution.

The petition follows the findings published in 2019 by the Commission on Justice in Wales, set up by the Welsh government in 2017. The conclusions recommended the devolution of justice powers from London to Cardiff.

The Labour Party, in government in Wales, and Plaid Cymru, the main Welsh independence party, support the demand. The Conservative Party, the main opposition party in Wales but holding an absolute majority in the UK House of Commons, rejects it.

The Welsh Parliament, or Senedd, has had law-making powers since the start of devolution in 1999, which have been extended and strengthened on several occasions (2007, 2011, and 2018).

A 2021 survey suggests that 35 per cent of Welsh people want more devolution while a further 14 per cent wish independence. 27 per cent say they are happy with the current status quo. 18 per cent want to cut the powers of the Senedd or abolish it.