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Saturday, November 29, 2008

When worlds collide

Former Counsel General Winston Roddick has joined the ranks of those who are warning that the present constitutional settlement is unsustainable.

Delivering the ninth annual lecture of the Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs at Aberystwyth University, Mr. Roddick said tensions between the two seats of government were likely to worsen before they improved.

Winston Roddick questioned whether the next devolution settlement should comprise full legislative responsibility, devolution of the civil service, police service and the administration of justice.

“My concerns are that as there is very little experience of the administration of justice within the Assembly Government or amongst the members of the All Wales Convention, there might not be effective discussion about some of those wider aspects of real devolution,” he said. “All the more reason why these questions need to be addressed publicly.

“Imagine the rate of change in our laws if the Assembly were to have primary legislative competence on the scale enjoyed by the Parliament of Scotland and the Assembly of Northern Ireland.

“The devolution of primary legislative powers to Wales on that scale would have a major impact not only as to the content of our laws and their differences from the laws of other parts of the United Kingdom but also for the machinery of justice in Wales – it would have an enormous effect on all aspects of legal Wales.”

Is there anybody outside the ranks of Labour MPs who believes that the 2006 Government of Wales Act is fit for purpose?
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