"A (D)evolving Criminal Justice System for Wales"

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"A (D)evolving Criminal Justice System for Wales" Empty "A (D)evolving Criminal Justice System for Wales"

Post  Aderyn y Si on Mon 8 Dec 2008 - 19:03

In the latest edition of the wonderfully named online journal:

Crimes and Misdemeanors: Deviance and the Law in Historical Perspective

There is an article that should be very relevant to this particular forum.


Jackie Jones
Bristol Law School
University of the West of England

This is the editorial introduction:

Jackie Jones examines the practical impact of the “quasi-devolution” of legal powers devolved to the coalition Welsh assembly since the enactment of the Government of Wales Act 2006. She argues, provocatively, that the shift from administrative devolution to a more legislatively competent devolution has enabled the Welsh administration and the criminal justice system to develop its own initiatives and policies with the potential and momentum to create a fully devolved and ultimately independent system that could diverge significantly from the English/Westminster model. She also cautions that there are real dangers that such progression could prejudice the equality of opportunity for all and equality of treatment of both Welsh and English required by the Welsh constitution.

The future consequences of “breaking away” from traditionally agreed parameters could ultimately precipitate a more formal break with the United Kingdom as the principality increasingly asserts its independence – a process further emphasised by the duality of language increasingly used in its proceedings. Certainly for those outside Wales, and indeed for some in the principality, these are controversial claims – requiring a rethink of the ties historically holding the United Kingdom together legally as well as politically.

It is worth remembering that, in the days of the British Empire, while some colonies may have been acquired by military conquest, all were maintained within that Empire through the rule of law. The process of legal codification which occupied the Colonial Office in the last half of the nineteenth century was a fundamental plank in the authority that Britain exercised over its colonies. In terms of this recent imperial experience, there was a two-tier system, where for much of the daily business of the legal process in a colony, indigenous laws applied but where serious crimes (especially involving Europeans) would be dealt with under an appropriately ‘civilised’ set of laws; in other words, laws derived from operating within England and Wales.

That older English acquisition, Wales, has never been treated like a colony, with the power to vary at least a part of its legal structure to reflect its own agendas and cultural realities. One implication of Jackie Jones’ contribution is that Wales is now demanding something along the lines of what colonies like India, the Gold Coast or Canada once enjoyed within an Empire, and which – in the longer perspective – contributed to their ability to move from dependence to independence. We would welcome responses and comments on this Debate piece.

SOLON Volume 2, No 1, April 2008 ISSN 1754-0445
Click [here] to download the article.
Aderyn y Si
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