Consultation opens on new Welsh tribunal system
A consultation has opened today to shape reforms that will improve access to justice and lay the foundation for a devolved Welsh justice system.
Legislation will be brought forward to create a modern, structurally independent unified system.
It will be designed to absorb the jurisdictions of existing devolved tribunals as well as to take on further functions over time.
Proposals include the creation of a First-tier Tribunal for Wales with a chamber structure and the creation of an Appeal Tribunal which will be the first Welsh appellate body in legal history.
The plans also include statutory duties to uphold the independence of the new tribunal system, greater independence for the way in which the system is administered and simplified approaches to the appointment of tribunal members and complaints across the new tribunal system.
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 legislation that will bring in the reforms.
Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said: “We have two main objectives in reforming tribunals in Wales.
“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 The legislative framework underpinning tribunals is now outdated so these reforms will lead to a clearer, simpler and more coherent system for everyone involved.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.
“I encourage everyone with an interest to respond to the consultation and help shape this important work.”
“Sir Gary Hickinbottom, the President of Welsh Tribunals, said: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government are 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.”
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