Consultation opens on the new Welsh tribunal system

Consultation opens on the new Welsh tribunal system

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation designed to “shape reforms that will unify and modernise devolved tribunals in Wales”.

Mick Antoniw, the Welsh Government’s Counsel General, said the proposed changes were intended to enhance access to justice and establish the groundwork for a devolved Welsh justice system.

The legislation will be introduced to establish a contemporary and structurally independent unified system that will gradually absorb the jurisdictions of existing devolved tribunals and take on additional functions over time.

The main proposals in this scheme include:

The creation of a First-tier Tribunal for Wales with a chamber structure;

The creation of an Appeal Tribunal for Wales, the first Welsh appellate body in legal history;

Statutory duties to uphold the independence of the new tribunal system;

Greater independence for the way in which the system is administered by a new arms-length body; Simplified and coherent approaches to the appointment of tribunal members and complaints across the new tribunal system; andclear and efficient ways to make tribunal rules and to keep them up to date.

The consultation takes forward and builds on the recommendations of the Commission on Justice in Wales, as well as the Law Commission’s project on devolved tribunals in Wales.

It is open until 2 October and responses will inform any legislation that will bring in the reforms in the near future.

Antoniw highlighted the two main objectives the Welsh Government holds in reforming tribunals in Wales.

He said: “Firstly, we want to create a modern tribunal system focused on access to justice, with people confident their disputes will be handled justly, efficiently and quickly. The legislative framework underpinning tribunals is now outdated so these reforms will lead to a clearer, simpler and more coherent system for everyone involved.

“Secondly, the reforms continue to lay the foundation for a future where justice is devolved, with Wales administering its own wider system of courts and tribunals. We retain the belief that this is the best way to deliver better outcomes for the people of Wales.”

He encouraged those with any interest to respond to the consultation and help shape the project.

Sir Gary Hickinbottom, the President of Welsh Tribunals, said he was delighted that the Welsh Government was bringing forward proposals for the reform of Welsh Tribunals.

“This provides a tremendous opportunity to put in place a structure for our current tribunals that will enable us to provide a better service for tribunal users, and lay the foundation for future development in a flexible and coherent way,” the judge said.

Harry Rodd


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