Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood has today said that the UK vote to leave the European Union strengthens the case for the creation of a distinct Welsh legal system.
Leanne Wood said that the UK faced a ‘period of constitutional upheaval’ and that Wales must be equipped to take decisions that will protect the interests of its economy and communities.
The Plaid Cymru leader added that if the current Wales Bill fails to adequately address the question of a distinct Welsh legal system – a development which by now has cross-party support as well as widespread backing among the profession – then a separate bill would be required.
Party of Wales Leader Leanne Wood said:
“The decision to leave the European Union means that the UK now faces a period of constitutional upheaval.
“Several pieces of legislation will need to be unpicked with powers repatriated from Brussels in many policy areas.
“Plaid Cymru has long argued that Wales needs its own distinct legal system so that we can properly administer the laws passed by our National Assembly. Wales is now the only country in the world with a legislature but no jurisdiction.
“As key decisions are taken in Westminster that will affect all parts of the UK, Wales must be adequately equipped to protect the interests of our country.
“This means having the ability to take decisions that serve the unique needs of our economy and communities, rather than allow decisions affecting Wales being determined by a neighbouring country.
“We must also have the proper legal infrastructure in Wales to deal with powers that should and must be repatriated from Brussels to the Assembly. People may have voted to leave but they did not vote to centralise powers in Westminster.
“Unless this question of a distinct Welsh legal system is addressed with urgency, there is a risk that we will drift into an ‘EnglandandWales’ entity and Wales's second class status within that will become entrenched. The Wales Bill currently passing through Parliament is an opportunity to address this risk. Failure to address it will immediately prompt the need for a new, separate bill.
“I urge all parties in Wales to unite behind a legal jurisdiction for Wales so that our nation can carve out a distinct post-Brexit future that will give us a better chance of getting fairness and prosperity for all our communities.”