Making Justice work in Wales

In March 2020, the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee began an inquiry on Making Justice work in Wales.


On 24 October 2019 the Commission on Justice in Wales published a report entitled ‘Justice in Wales for the people of Wales’ (pdf 6MB). The Commission made recommendations that fall specifically to the Senedd, including that it should be more proactive in scrutinising how the justice system operates, and monitoring and reviewing progress on justice reform.

The Committee intended to carry out its inquiry in two parts, and agreed the following terms of reference:


Part 1 – Fact finding and looking forward 

  • To identify and map the Senedd and Welsh Government’s existing responsibilities and functions relating to the scrutiny of justice matters;
  • To identify and review the current funding arrangements for justice matters already within the responsibility of the Senedd and Welsh Government;
  • To consider the existing operation of justice functions in Wales, including Welsh Government policies in devolved areas and their interaction with the administration of justice;
  • To consider the impact of relationships between UK and Welsh competence on specific justice matters and to identify areas of concern;
  • To consider how the Senedd could have a more proactive role in the scrutiny of justice, including how justice bodies could engage with the Senedd.


Part 2 – Analysis of how the justice system could operate more effectively in Wales

  • Using results of Part 1, to explore any areas of concern in the balance of justice powers and accordingly whether a more coherent and joined up approach to justice policy could be achieved; 
  • To consider the implications, consequences and practicalities of any potential justice devolution;
  • To learns lessons on the approach to scrutiny of justice from UK and other legislatures.


The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic limited the Committee’s intended approach. However the Committee was able to collect evidence through a public consultation and in evidence sessions with:  

  • the First Minister and Counsel General,  
  • the President of Welsh Tribunals, 
  • the Law Commission of England and Wales, and 
  • the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. 


As part of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee’s inquiry, the Welsh Parliament’s Citizen Engagement Team also gathered the views of legal practitioners across Wales. The Team arranged a series of virtual focus groups throughout September 2020 and produced a summary (PDF 143 KB) of the key themes.


The Committee’s Fifth Senedd Legacy Report (PDF 4.5MB) provides a narrative on the inquiry and sets out a number of conclusions reached by the Committee.

Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Senedd Business;

Status: Complete

First published: 10/03/2020