Establishment of Two Distinct Jurisdictions

Wales Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 12th September 2016.

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Votes in this debate

  • Division number 62
    A majority of MPs voted against the separation of the legal systems of England and Wales.

92B Legal jurisdictions of Wales and of England

The legal jurisdiction of England and Wales becomes two legal jurisdictions, that of Wales and that of England.

92C The law of Wales and the law of England

(1) The law of England and Wales is divided into the law of Wales and the law of England.

(2) All of the law that extends to England and Wales immediately before the coming into force of this section—

(a) except in so far as it applies only in relation to England, is to extend to Wales (and becomes the law of Wales), and

(b) except in so far as it applies only in relation to Wales, is to extend to England (and becomes the law of England).

(3) In this section “law” includes—

(a) rules and principles of common law and equity,

(b) provision made by virtue of an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament, an Act of the Welsh Parliament or an Act or Measure of the National Assembly for Wales, and

(c) provision made pursuant to the prerogative.

(4) Any provision of any enactment or instrument enacted or made, but not in force, when subsection (1) comes into force is to be treated for the purposes of that subsection as part of the law that extends to England and Wales (but this subsection does not affect provision made for its coming into force).

92D Senior Courts system

(1) The Senior Courts of England and Wales cease to exist (except for the purposes of sections 92H (3) and (4)) and there are established in place of them—

(a) the Senior Courts of Wales, and

(b) the Senior Courts of England.

(2) The Senior Courts of Wales consist of—

(a) the Court of Appeal of Wales,

(b) the High Court of Justice of Wales, and

(c) the Crown Court of Wales, each having the same functions in Wales as are exercisable by the corresponding court in England and Wales immediately before subsection (1) comes into force.

(3) The Senior Courts of England consist of—

(a) the Court of Appeal of England,

(b) the High Court of Justice of England, and

(c) the Crown Court of England,

each having the same functions in England as are exercisable by the corresponding court in England and Wales immediately before subsection (1) comes into force.

(4) For the purposes of this Part—

(a) Her Majesty’s Court of Appeal in England is the court corresponding to the Court of Appeal of Wales and the Court of Appeal of England,

(b) Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice in England is the court corresponding to the High Court of Justice of Wales and the High Court of Justice of England, and

(c) the Crown Court constituted by section 4 of the Courts Act 1971 is the court corresponding to the Crown Court of Wales and the Crown Court of England.

(5) Subject to section 92I—

(a) references in enactments, instruments and other documents to the Senior Courts of England and Wales (however expressed) have effect (as the context requires) as references to the Senior Courts of Wales or the Senior Courts of England, or both; and

(b) references in enactments, instruments and other documents to Her Majesty’s Court of Appeal in England, Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice in England or the Crown Court constituted by section 4 of the Courts Act 1971 (however expressed) have effect (as the context requires) as references to either or both of the courts to which they correspond.

92E County court and family court

(1) The county court and the family court cease to exist (except for the purposes of sections 92H (3) and (4)) and there are established in place of them—

(a) the county court of Wales and the family court of Wales with the same functions in Wales as are exercisable by the county court and the family court (respectively) immediately before this subsection comes into force, and

(b) the county court of England and the family court of England with the same functions in England as are exercisable by the county court and the family court (respectively) immediately before this subsection comes into force.

(2) For the purposes of this Part—

(a) the county court is the court corresponding to the county court of Wales and the county court of England, and

(b) the family court is the court corresponding to the family court of Wales and the family court of England.

(3) Subject to section 92I references in enactments, instruments and other documents to the county court or the family court (however expressed) have effect (as the context requires) as references to either or both of the courts to which they correspond.

92F Judiciary etc.

(1) All of the judges, judicial office-holders and other officers of Her Majesty’s Court of Appeal in England or Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice in England become judges, judicial office-holders or officers of both of the courts to which that court corresponds.

(2) All of the persons by whom the jurisdiction of the Crown Court constituted by section 4 of the Courts Act 1971 is exercisable become the persons by whom the functions of both of the courts to which that court corresponds are exercisable except that (despite section 8(2) of the Senior Courts Act 1981)—

(a) a justice of the peace assigned to a local justice area in England may not by virtue of this subsection exercise functions of the Crown Court of Wales, and

(b) a justice of the peace assigned to a local justice area in Wales may not by virtue of this subsection exercise functions of the Crown Court of England.

(3) All of the judges, judicial office-holders and other officers of the county court become judges, judicial office-holders or officers of the county court of Wales and the county court of England.

(4) All of the judges, judicial office-holders and other officers of the family court become judges, judicial office-holders or officers of the family court of Wales and the family court of England except that (despite section 31C(1)(y) of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984)—

(a) a justice of the peace assigned to a local justice area in England is not a judge of the family court of Wales, and

(b) a justice of the peace assigned to a local justice area in Wales is not a judge of the family court of England.

92G Legal professions

(1) Every legal practitioner who would (but for this Part) at any time after the coming into force of this Act be entitled to carry on a reserved legal activity for the purposes of the law of England and Wales, in proceedings in England and Wales or before the courts of England and Wales, has at that time the same entitlement for the purposes of the law of England and the law of Wales, in proceedings in England and proceedings in Wales and before the courts of England and the courts of Wales.

(2) In this section—

“legal practitioner” means every solicitor, barrister, notary, legal executive, licensed conveyancer, patent attorney, trade mark attorney, law costs draftsman, accountant or other person who, in accordance with the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29), is entitled to carry on a reserved legal activity;

“reserved legal activity” has the same meaning as in the Legal Services Act 2007.

92H Division of business between courts of Wales and courts of England

(1) The Senior Courts of Wales, the county court of Wales, the family court of Wales and the justices for local justice areas in Wales are to apply the law extending to Wales (including the rules of private international law relating to the application of foreign law).

(2) The Senior Courts of England, the county court of England, the family court of England and the justices for local justice areas in England are to apply the law extending to England (including the rules of private international law relating to the application of foreign law).

(3) All proceedings, whether civil or criminal, pending in any of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, the county court or the family court (including proceedings in which a judgment or order has been given or made but not enforced) must be transferred by that court to whichever of the courts to which that court corresponds appears appropriate.

(4) The transferred proceedings are to continue as if the case had originated in, and the previous proceedings had been taken in, that other court.

Supplementary

92I Power to make further provision

(1) Her Majesty may by Order in Council make provision (including provision amending or otherwise modifying any enactment or instrument, including this Act) that appears appropriate in consequence of, or otherwise in connection with, the provision made by this Part.

(2) The provision that may be made under subsection (1) includes in particular provision relating to—

(a) courts,

(b) tribunals,

(c) the judges, judicial officers and other members and officers of courts and tribunals,

(d) the Counsel General or other law officers,

(e) the legal professions,

(f) the law relating to the jurisdiction of courts and tribunals, and

(g) other aspects of private international law (including, in particular, choice of law, domicile and the recognition and enforcement of judgments and awards).

(3) No Order may be made under subsection (1) unless a draft of the Order has been laid before, and approved by resolution of—

(a) each House of the United Kingdom Parliament, and

(b) the Welsh Parliament.”—(Liz Saville Roberts.)

This amendment replaces the Bill’s proposed recognition of Welsh law with provisions to establish two distinct legal jurisdictions of England and Wales, as drafted by the Welsh Government.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 30, Noes 288.

Division number 62 Wales Bill — Clause 1 — Separation of the Legal Jurisdictions for England and Wales

A majority of MPs voted against the separation of the legal systems of England and Wales.

Aye: 30 MPs

No: 288 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Absent: 327 MPs

Absents: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment 8, page 2, line 4, leave out “92B” and insert “A2”.—(Alun Cairns.)

Clause 6