National Assembly for Wales

Y Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

18/06/2018

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Dai Lloyd AM
David Melding AM
Mandy Jones AM
Mick Antoniw AM Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair

Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru a oedd yn bresennol

National Assembly for Wales Officials in Attendance

Alys Thomas Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Lisa Salkeld Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
P Gareth Williams Clerc
Clerk
Ruth Hatton Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Sarah Sargent Ail Glerc
Second Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 14:30.

The meeting began at 14:30.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introduction, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Good afternoon. This is the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee meeting. Welcome, everyone, to the meeting. There are no apologies today, so we have a full complement of the committee. I'll just deal with a few handling arrangements. In the event of a fire alarm, Members should leave the room by the marked fire exits and follow instructions from the ushers and staff. There is no test forecast for today. All mobile devices are to be switched to silent mode. The National Assembly for Wales operates through the medium of both the Welsh and English languages. Headphones are provided, through which instantaneous translation may be received. For any who are hard of hearing, these may also be used to amplify sound. Do not touch any of the buttons on the microphones, as this can disable the system, and ensure that the red light is showing before speaking. Interpretation is available on channel 1 and verbatim on channel 2. I'll just check whether there are any declarations of interest, and, if there are none, we move straight on to item 2. 

2. Offerynnau sy'n cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i’r Cynulliad o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3
2. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3

These are instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Orders 21.2 or 21.3. We have the negative resolution instruments first, the first of which is the Education (Postgraduate Doctoral Degree Loans) (Wales) Regulations, and you have before you a report, the regulations and the explanatory memorandum. These regulations provide for loan support to eligible students undertaking designated postgraduate doctoral degree courses begin on or after 1 August 2018, and the regulations set out the eligibility criteria of what constitutes a designated course, the formalities related to applying for a loan, details of the amounts and payments of loans, and details regarding loans to eligible prisoners. I think the lawyers have identified a number of technical and merits points.

Yes, there's one technical point in that. There doesn't appear to be any justification in the explanatory memorandum for a nine-day delay in laying the regulations after they were made. And the merits point is just to point out that there have been several sets of regulations that the committee has reported on over the last couple of months in the area of student support where the explanatory memorandum hasn't given a justification for a cut-off age. In these regulations, there's a cut-off age of 60, after which you can't claim the support, and it's just to point out that we're quite pleased that the Welsh Government, in this case, has set out a full explanation of why they feel it's not discriminatory and why it doesn't breach the European convention on human rights. So, it's just nice to see that and we've pointed that out to the committee.

So, the age limit issue would have been one issue of potential challenge if there had not been sufficient explanation and justification put. The other issue was the delay. Could you just clarify the delay issue again?

There's a delay of nine days between laying the regulations and the date they were made, and the explanatory memorandum hasn't given any reason for this. So, we've asked the Government to provide a written response.

And we have a slightly shorter report. This is the Government's report, which basically says the regulations were made on the 23 May and laid before the Assembly on 1 June, and 28 May was a bank holiday and 29 May was a non-working day. The time before making and laying was four working days. So, any comments to make? 

Well, they don't timetable things very well, but I suppose we should let that pass. 

So, we will note that, and we'll note the response from the Welsh Government on this occasion. I think, in other circumstances we—

The explanatory memo was helpful, and it just leads me to think that when they do have good reason, they can clearly express it, and when there's silence, it indicates, perhaps, less firm justification for a particular approach. 

3. Papurau i'w nodi yn ymwneud ag Offerynnau Statudol
3. Papers to note relating to Statutory Instruments

And then we move on to papers to note relating to statutory instruments, item 3. We're on the Law Derived from the European Union (Wales) Act 2018 (Repeal) Regulations 2018. So, the Welsh—we call it the continuity Bill, which became an Act and has now received Royal Assent and so is now the law of the land, and this is the process after the inter-governmental agreement for repeal of it, and which raised a number of issues. The regulations will be laid before the Assembly on 8 June. The explanatory memorandum explains the enhanced procedure for scrutiny of the regulations. Are there any comments on that? Any comments to be made? I think the only comment I'd make on them is that I think it's worth revisiting this again in September, just on the basis that there are certain things that will be required to be done under the new legislation until such time as it is repealed, and I think we just ought to keep an eye on those.

14:35

Beth sy'n dilyn o hyn ydy'r ffaith, wrth gwrs, fod angen i ryw bwyllgor—ac, rwy'n cymryd mai'r pwyllgor yma ydy o—asesu sut mae'r cytundeb rhynglywodraethol yn gweithio yng nghyd-destun Bil yr Undeb Ewropeaidd (Ymadael). Rwy'n cymryd mai dyna beth rydych chi'n ei awgrymu fan hyn—ddylem ni ddim jest fod yn anghofio hyn nawr fod y Bil parhad yn cael ei ddiddymu, ond dylai fod yna ryw fodd o asesu sut mae'r cytundeb rhynglywodraethol yn gweithio.

What follows on from that, of course, is the fact that some committee—and I assume it will be this committee—will assess how the inter-governmental agreement is working in the context of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. I assume that that's what you're suggesting here—we shouldn't just forget this now that the continuity Bill is to be repealed, but there should be some means of assessing how that inter-governmental agreement is working.

That's certainly my view—that, because it will be October before the repeal can be laid, the Welsh Government has started a formal consultation process, as it is required to do as part of the repeal, and that means that there is a certain amount of time. So, by the time we come back after the summer, I think it's worth having this or at least having it on the agenda. Is that okay?

Okay. There are no other points. In which case, we move on to the Sea Fishing (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which are about reporting composite regulations from Welsh Ministers and the UK Government in fact to establish a community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. I think this is one that we discussed last time round. Is there anything from the lawyers to note on this? No. Anything to note? No. In which case, perhaps we could defer this to our private session if there are any issues on it.

There is a draft response to the Government based on a request of Members at the last meeting. So, that letter can be considered in private session if Members are content.

4. Papurau i’w nodi
4. Papers to note

Okay. We move on to item 4, papers to note: Welsh Government evidence to the justice commission. Members are invited to note the evidence to the justice commission from the Welsh Government. I think this is worth considering further in private session. I don't know whether there's anything specifically that anyone wanted to comment on now in open session.

Dim ond yn fyr, i geisio deall sut mae'r holl fusnes yma ynglŷn â'r Chomisiwn ar Gyfiawnder yng Nghymru yn mynd ymlaen. So, dyma'r dystiolaeth ysgrifenedig gan Lywodraeth Cymru i'r comisiwn. Felly, beth yw'r camau nesaf?

Only briefly, just to try and understand how this whole business relating to the Commission on Justice in Wales is progressing. So, this is the written evidence from the Welsh Government to the commission. So, what are the next steps?

Well, the commission has put out a request for evidence, and that deadline closes on what date? Is that the end of June?

I think the evidence session has actually closed at the moment. 

There is that option, I think, yes.

Okay. I had certain views on some of the evidence that's gone in, and I think there are issues to do with jurisdiction, our paper on which has gone off, and there are some issues on access to justice. Maybe we can consider those in private session.

Okay. In which case, we move on to the letter from the Counsel General with regard to the implementation of Law Commission proposals. You're invited to note the letter from the Counsel General. Again, perhaps this is something we should refer to in private session. It relates to the correspondence—the issues that were raised in this committee with regard to any particular projects that the Welsh Government had in mind with the Law Commission. So, I think we can discuss that in private session. Is that agreed?

5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod
5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

In that case, we then move to a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to meet in private. Is that agreed?

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:39.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 14:39.

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