|Carwyn Jones AM|
|Dai Lloyd AM|
|Mick Antoniw AM||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Claire Fife||Cynghorydd polisi i'r Cwnsler Cyffredinol, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Policy Advisor to the Counsel General, Welsh Government|
|Dylan Hughes||Y Prif Gwnsler Deddfwriaethol, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|First Legislative Counsel, Welsh Government|
|Jeremy Miles AM||Y Cwnsler Cyffredinol a'r Gweinidog Brexit|
|The Counsel General and Brexit Minister|
|Gareth Howells||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|P Gareth Williams||Clerc|
|Rachael Davies||Dirprwy Glerc|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introduction, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. Dyfodol cyfraith Cymru: categoreiddio, cydgrynhoi a chodeiddio: Sesiwn dystiolaeth||2. The future of Welsh law: classification, consolidation and codification: Evidence session|
|3. Offerynnau nad ydynt yn codi materion i gyflwyno adroddiad yn eu cylch o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3||3. Instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2, 21.3 or 21.7|
|4. Offerynnau sy'n codi materion i gyflwyno adroddiad yn eu cylch i'r Cynulliad o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3||4. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3|
|5. Papurau i'w nodi||5. Papers to note|
|6. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o’r cyfarfod||6. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting|
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 13:30.
The meeting began at 13:30.
This is a meeting of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. On to item 1: we've had an apology from Suzy Davies, who's not well today. Are there any declarations of interest? And if there aren't any declarations of interest, then the usual housekeeping rules will apply.
We go straight on to item 2, which is the future of Welsh law: classification, consolidation and codification—evidence session. I welcome the Counsel General, Jeremy Miles; Dylan Hughes, first legislative counsel, and Claire Fife, policy advisor to the Counsel General. Thank you for making your time available today.
Obviously, it's a very technical piece of legislation, so I've got a few questions just to start off with. And just one minor point: we use the word 'taxonomy' a lot in there; on a basis of simplification and accessibility of law, would you not have been better with 'classification', as opposed to 'taxonomy'?
I think, in my mind, at least—I take the point you make, Chair, in relation to accessibility. In my mind, the word 'taxonomy' really represents the route-map, if you like. The classification is the process itself, and the taxonomy is intended to give a kind of illustration of where we could end up, and, obviously, we're seeking views on that.
So, we treat it as the route-map to classification—that's our understanding of it. Okay, I'll move on from that.
You started off with looking at the taxonomy of possible codes. And I was just wondering what early feedback you might have had, if any.
Well, obviously, we shared the draft taxonomy at the time of the passing of the Legislation (Wales) Act 2019 as well. We've re-presented it for consultation at this point. As you would expect, most responses to consultations come in towards the end, and we've had some responses that are supportive of what we're doing, in broad terms, but no specific responses on the taxonomy itself, as I understand.
And do you have any views as to how long it will take to organise legislation by subject, and how much work and consolidation and publication can be carried out in the meantime?
Well, the consultation identifies three processes—one is the classification, one is the consolidation, and one is the codification. And they're presented in that way, really, for ease of comprehension, I guess. They're not, in that sense, sequential, so it's not a case of having to complete the entire process of classification before moving on to consolidation and codification—that's certainly not the case in the universal sense. It's not really the case in any subject matter sense, either, because when the first programme of accessibility comes to be laid in the new Assembly term, the judgments taken around what work of consolidation should be prioritised there will, obviously, trigger a process of classification. But just perhaps to give the committee a bit more detail on that, I'm hoping and envisaging that, over the next 18 months, we will have done the work necessary to begin the task of tagging new legislation coming through. That's not quite the same as classification, but it involves a process of classification. That should take—that process will then attach to all new legislation into the future. And then the question is working backwards, through the existing statute book. But that is the work of very many years. But I just want to give the reassurance that that doesn't have to be complete before the work of consolidation can begin.
And of course it changes the whole mindset, in terms of the development and generation of legislation as well, once you start doing that.
You're obviously referring in the consultation to the development, obviously, of the 'Cymrulex' site, and so on. And I was just wondering when we may have something more to report on that—what progress there may be, what sort of timescale, what progress is being made at the moment.
Well, there are now discussions under way with the National Archives about a specification for the 'Cymrulex' project. And, by the way, Chair, if anyone has a better name for it than 'Cymrulex', I'm very happy to take suggestions on that. We're working on—
Indeed. So, that's ongoing—the discussion on the specification is ongoing. The National Archives itself is separately undertaking a review and refurbishment, if you like, of its own web offering, which will involve a new search functionality, which will be available to 'Cymrulex' and would be a really great enhancement, and I think the timescale they're working to for that is Easter next year. So, then, beyond that, the process of tagging can be under way. My assumption, at this point, is that within a year, say, of the next Assembly term, we can imagine something substantive being available to the public in relation to this kind of classification.
That's very helpful. Part of, of course, the work and the very considerable expertise and technical nature of the work to be done—you yourself in the consultation, or someone, referred to how time-consuming it is, particularly at a time when so many other things are happening, and, of course, the issue of resources and so on in dealing with all the issues that arise from this. What is the situation, in terms of resources and so on? And how does that potentially impact on timescales?
We have already started to bring in the staffing resources that we need to be able to deliver to the timescale that I've sketched, really, I think this morning, and there will be further recruitment into the team to create a digital capacity to undertake this work, and there's a process then, Chair, of working through the operational processes, if you like, to marry the tagging functionality to the legislation and to develop that specification in more detail.
So, partly digital, but also the one element that isn't avoidable, which is, of course, the need for very specialist legislative drafters and so on.
Yes. When I say 'digital', I mean lawyers working in a digital context, really.
Okay, thank you very much. The issue of consolidation and the potential problems that arise around that, because consolidation is bringing together in an accessible and understandable form a whole variety of laws—. But, nevertheless, the process of scrutiny of that to ensure that policy change or fundamental policy changes aren't being made but it is something that can go through a relatively, I suppose, expedited process—how much more thought has been given to that? How do you see that working?
Well, what I mean is, in terms of—. The process of consolidation will require the redrafting and bringing together a whole variety of laws. The scrutiny process will be to ensure that what isn't happening is that policy isn't changing and so on.
Yes, okay. If I can just take, to start with, Chair, the nature of the changes that the consolidation exercise includes? To state, perhaps, the obvious, the origination of a law reform Bill starts with policy officials effectively developing an idea and then working with lawyers and legislative counsel after that, and within the bounds of competence, clearly if there's anything that is capable of being included in that legislative endeavour, if you like—. From a consolidation point of view, the origination of that process, of course, starts with the draughtsperson. So, it's a different starting point and that tells you something about the kind of changes that are then likely to be made. Now, clearly, that is then tested with policy colleagues and with subject matter lawyers within the Government to test that there is no policy change. But the sorts of changes I would envisage being made are around clarity, consistency and updating references where they may be superseded or drafting practice may have changed. Now, within each of those areas there will obviously be choices, but the objective is that they shouldn't be policy choices. They should be choices that are within that range of challenges, if you like.
From the point of view of the scrutiny of that set of choices, if you like, each Bill would have its own explanatory memorandum, which would include tables describing where the provision has come from, where it's going, and, if it has changed, why it has changed. That will all be transparently available for members of the committee and, in due course, Members of the Senedd to see what changes have been made. So, ultimately, clearly, that's a question for the committee and for the Senedd to determine that it's comfortable with that. What I would say, as a process, is we're embarking on something new here, aren't we—at scale. There are examples elsewhere of how this has worked, and I'm assuming the committee will want to satisfy itself of the practice that other legislatures have—the pros and cons, if you like, they've identified—to shape the approach you may wish to take to scrutiny.
But I think the key point is, we will wish and need this process to be one that operates effectively, so the judgments made in those choices need to be ones that are capable of swiftly assuring committee that they aren't controversial. Because anything else, bluntly, will involve a process that will quickly become unmanageable, both from the Senedd's point of view and from the Government's point of view. So, the dynamic in the system, if you like, is going to be one which, as the Member in charge, the Counsel General probably will wish to be doing this and building up a relationship of trust and transparency with a committee, because that's really the best way that this will be able to work.
And I suppose the danger in any parliamentary process of course is to avoid the temptation during that process to see opportunities to make reforms which may be well intentioned but could actually disrupt the consolidation process. And I suppose that really depends on the process being one of everyone buying into it, but having the confidence that it will carry through what its purpose is.
I'm informed a little, if I may say, Chair, in the discussions that we've had and the correspondence that we've had in relation to the Brexit SI process, where the committee has obviously been keen to focus in on those areas that in the committee's judgment represent policy choices, even if we perhaps as a Government have disagreed. But I'm very alive to that set of concerns, and they are plainly, in the context of consolidation, obviously a very important set of concerns. But I think the transparency of the process is what will guard against that, and ultimately it's for the committee and the Senedd to decide.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. Yn para ymlaen efo'r un trywydd â'r cwestiynau y mae'r Cadeirydd eisoes wedi eu rhoi gerbron, hynny yw ynglŷn â materion yn ymwneud â chydgrynhoi cyfraith Cymru a mynd ar ôl rhai manylion technegol ond pwysig efallai, allwch chi olrhain, o dan weledigaeth Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer y broses yma o gydgrynhoi, a allai cydgrynhoi newid ffi statudol neu newid amserlen statudol ar unrhyw adeg?
Thank you, Chair. Continuing with questions in a similar vein to those that the Chair has already asked with regard to consolidation of the law of Wales and pursuing some important technical details, could you tell us, under the vision of the Welsh Government for this process of consolidation, whether consolidation could change a statutory fee or a statutory timescale at any time?
Fe allai wneud hynny. Felly, o ran cyfnodau amser, fe allech chi gael dwy Ddeddf, un yn sôn am gyfnod o fis efallai ar gyfer rhyw gam i gael ei gymryd, ac un arall yn sôn am gyfnod o 28 diwrnod. Mae angen wedyn gwneud dewis, os ydych chi'n cydgrynhoi, p'un o'r ddau ddisgrifiad sy'n fwy addas. Mae'r arfer drafftio cyfredol yn awgrymu y byddai mesur mewn diwrnodau yn fwy eglur a hygyrch, ond mae'r math yna o ddewis ynghlwm wrth y broses.
O ran ffioedd, mae'r arfer wedi bod yn y gorffennol efallai i osod ffi ar wyneb Deddf. Yn fwy diweddar, rŷch chi'n gweld pŵer i greu ffioedd tu fas i'r cymal, neu efallai i newid y ffi drwy is-ddeddfu ac ati. Felly, mae proses ynghlwm wrth hynny o ddewis pa ffordd yw'r ffordd orau. Ond, byddai'r pethau hynny yn cael eu disgrifio yn y memorandwm.
tIt could do that. So, in terms of timescales, you could have two Acts, one talking about a period of a month for a step to be taken, and another talking about 28 days. Then, there's a need to make a choice, in terms of consolidation, which description is most suitable. The current drafting practice suggests that to measure in days would be clearer and more accessible, but that kind of choice is involved in that process.
In terms of fees, the practice has been in the past to set a fee on the face of an Act. More recently, you see a power to create fees outside the clause, or perhaps to change the fee through subordinate legislation. So, there's a process in that in deciding which way would be the best way. But, those issues would be described in the memorandum.
Ac yn dal yn mynd o dan y testun eu bod nhw'n newidiadau mân ac annadleuol, buaswn i'n gobeithio, achos dyna ydy'r pwyslais. Mae yna gwestiynau eraill ar hyd yr un math o lwybr rŵan o dan yr un math o weledigaeth am cydgrynhoi. Ydy cydgrynhoi hefyd yn gallu newid diffiniad yn Neddf Cymru?
And they would still be described as minor and non-controversial changes, I would hope, because that's the emphasis. I have further questions on a similar theme, relating to the vision with regard to consolidation. Does consolidation also mean that you could change a definition in the Wales Act?
A gaf i jest wneud un pwynt bras, os caf i, am sut dŷn ni wedi dod at y man lle dŷn ni'n defnyddio'r termau yma? Os edrychwch chi ar y ffordd y mae seneddau a llywodraethau eraill wedi mynd wrthi ar y broses yma, ar un llaw mae gyda chi ddisgresiwn eang mewn rhai deddfwrfeydd, ac mewn eraill mae gyda chi lot fwy o reolau manwl. Rŷn ni wedi dewis bod mor dryloyw ag y gallwn ni fod wrth ddisgrifio'r mathau o bethau. Rwy'n credu ei fod yn iawn i ddweud nad oes y math o fanylder yma yn ymddangos ym mhrosesau'r Senedd yn San Steffan, er enghraifft. Felly, rŷn ni eisiau bod yn dryloyw am hynny.
O ran y cwestiwn o ddiffiniadau a'r Ddeddf y gwnaethoch chi gyfeirio ati hi'n benodol, fuaswn i ddim yn erfyn ar y cyfan fod y broses o gydgrynhoi yn mynd i newid y diffiniadau yn y Ddeddf honno. Yr un achlysur, efallai, y buasai hynny'n digwydd yw os oes cyfeiriad yn y Schedules i'r Ddeddf honno sy'n sôn am enw Deddf sy'n cael ei chydgrynhoi gydag un arall. Efallai y byddai hynny'n enghraifft. Ond ar y cyfan, 'na' yw'r ateb.
Could I just make one broad point, if I may, about how we've reached the point where we're using these terms? If you look at the way that other parliaments and governments have gone about this process, on one hand you have wide discretion in some legislatures, and in others you have much more detailed regulations and rules. We have decided to be as transparent as possible in describing these sorts of things. I think it's right to say that there's not quite as much detail in the process of the Parliament in Westminster. So, we want to be transparent about that.
With regard to the question of definitions and the Act that you referred specifically, I wouldn't expect, on the whole, that the consolidation process would change the definitions in that Act. The one occasion that, perhaps, that would happen would be if there's a reference in the Schedules to that Act to an Act that is consolidated with another. Perhaps that would be an example. But on the whole, 'no' is the answer.
Wel, ar yr un un math o drywydd, pan fydd yna sefyllfa o wahanol ddeddfiadau'n gwneud darpariaeth gyferbyniol sydd ddim yn cyfuno efo'i gilydd, ynghylch unrhyw fater a dweud y gwir, a ydy hi'n briodol bod y gwrthddweud yn cael ei unioni drwy gydgrynhoi, felly? A sut mae cywiro o'r fath yn debygol o fod yn fân ac yn annadleuol wedyn os oes angen cywiro neu eich bod chi'n dewis bod angen cywiro pan fydd yna ddarpariaethau yn yr un un Ddeddf sy'n gwrthddweud ei gilydd, potentially?
And continuing in the same vein, when there is a situation where different enactments make contradictory provision, about any matter really, is it then appropriate that the contradiction is rectified by consolidation? And how is rectification of this kind likely to be minor and non-controversial if a correction is needed or that you decide that a correction needs to be made when there are provisions in similar legislation that contradict each other, potentially?
Wel, mae gyda chi set o ddewisiadau yn fan hyn, onid oes e? Os oes gyda chi yr un sefyllfa, neu sefyllfa debyg yn cael triniaeth ychydig yn wahanol mewn dwy Ddeddf, mae gyda chi'r dewis, wrth gwrs, i gadw'r gwahaniaeth neu i unioni'r peth drwy ddewis y naill neu'r llall, ar y cyfan. Efallai fod trydydd opsiwn—hynny yw, un sy'n fwy cymwys o ran techneg drafftio. Ond dyna'r dewisiadau yn fras.
Mae risg wrth drial diffinio'r cwestiwn yma o 'minor' a 'non-controversial' onid oes—eich bod chi jest yn troi mewn cylchoedd? O fy rhan i, y maen prawf sydd yn fwyaf defnyddiol yw, o edrych ar sut mae'r ddeddfwrfa wedi trin hyn mewn ffyrdd gwahanol, yn yr un math o sefyllfa, y cwestiwn yw a oedd hynny'n fwriadol neu a oedd e'n anfwriadol, felly. Dyna dwi'n meddwl yw'r ffordd hawsaf i edrych arno fe. Os ydych chi'n gallu creu dadl ei fod e'n rhywbeth sydd wedi digwydd heb fod yn fwriadol, mae gyda chi achos wedyn dros grynhoi a dewis un o'r ddau lwybr.
Mae enghraifft dda o hyn yn y Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. Mae'r ddogfen ymgynghori'n cyfeirio at y Ddeddf honno, a oedd yn trin dogfennau ar-lein mewn ffordd ychydig yn wahanol i ddogfennau papur, er enghraifft. Wedyn, roedd y Deddfau a oedd yn cael eu cydgrynhoi yn cael eu trin mewn ffyrdd gwahanol. Ond wedi i'r Ddeddf honno gael ei phasio, fe wnaethon nhw ddelio gyda'r rheolau yn yr un ffordd. Y math yna o beth, buaswn i'n dweud, yw'r math o newidiadau rŷn ni'n sôn amdanyn nhw.
Well, you have a set of options here, don't you? If you have the same situation, or a similar situation having quite a different treatment in different Acts, you have a choice of keeping that difference or rectifying it by choosing one or the other. Maybe there's a third option that's more suitable in terms of drafting technique. Those are the options on a broad basis.
There is a risk in trying to define this question of 'minor and non-controversial'—that you might go round and round in circles. But in my view, the criterion that is most useful is that, in looking at how the legislature has dealt with this in different ways, in the same sort of situation, the question is, was that intentional or was it unintentional? Therefore, that's what I think is the easiest way of looking at it. And if you can make the argument that it's something that's happened without being intentional, then you have a case for choosing one path or the other.
There's a good example of this is in the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. The consultation document refers to that Act, as it dealt with online documents in a different way to paper documents, for example, and then the Acts that were consolidated were being treated differently. But following the passing of that Act, they dealt with the rules in the same way. It's those sorts of things, I would say, that are the kind of changes we're talking about.
Ocê. Diolch. Ac, yn symud ymlaen, mae paragraff 52, dwi'n credu, yn amlinellu pwysigrwydd craffu a gallu'r Senedd yma i graffu ar beth mae'r Llywodraeth yn ei wneud. Ac rydym ni wedi clywed eisoes, mae'r dystiolaeth gerbron, ac fel roedd y Cadeirydd yn awgrymu eisoes, fod y prosiect cydgrynhoi—rydym ni wedi'i weld o ym maes cynllunio yn barod—yn dasg enfawr. Mae eisoes wedi cymryd amser hir ac yn hynod gymhleth. Wedyn, o gymryd hwnnw fel esiampl sy'n fyw ac yn rhedeg ar hyn o bryd, mae yna ddisgwyl bod y prosiectau cydgrynhoi fel ei gilydd yn mynd i fod yn cymryd dipyn mwy o amser na'r arferol. Felly, fuasech chi'n cytuno y bydd angen i'r Senedd yma sicrhau bod yna ddigon o amser i ni gael craffu ar ddeddfwriaeth gydgrynhoi, efallai, a'i bod hi'n anodd gwneud pethau ar fater o frys, felly, achos yr angen yma i graffu ar brosesau sy'n gallu bod yn gymhleth, fel sydd wedi digwydd ar hyn o bryd ym maes cynllunio?
Okay. Thank you. Moving on, paragraph 52, I believe, outlines the importance of scrutiny and the ability of this Senedd to scrutinise what the Government is doing. We've already heard, you've given evidence and the Chair also suggested that the consolidation process—we've seen it in planning already—is a mammoth task. It's already taken a great amount of time and it's extremely complex. So, taking that as a live example, we expect that the consolidation projects are all going to take longer than usual. So, would you agree that this Senedd will need to ensure that it has plenty of time for us to be able to scrutinise consolidation legislation and that it shouldn't be done as a matter of urgency, because we do need to scrutinise processes that can be complex, such as has happened in the area of planning?
Dwi'n derbyn bod yr amgylchiadau pan fydd angen cydgrynhoi ar frys efallai yn anodd i'w disgrifio, ond buaswn i hefyd yn dweud, dyw e'n sicr, yn fy marn i, ddim yn angenrheidiol o bell ffordd fod Deddf cydgrynhoi yn mynd i gymryd mwy o amser i gael ei chraffu na Deddf sy'n newid y gyfraith.
Fe wnaethoch chi sôn am y ddeddfwriaeth gynllunio, sydd, wrth gwrs, yn sylweddol iawn o ran y meysydd mae'n cyfro. Ond, buaswn i'n awgrymu mai'r man cychwyn efallai sydd fwyaf defnyddiol—wrth gwrs, mater i'r pwyllgor yw hyn—yw nid edrych ar yr ystod o bethau sy'n cael eu delio â nhw mewn deddf cydgrynhoi ond y newidiadau sydd yn newidiadau pwysig.
I accept that the circumstances around where there is a need to consolidate urgently are difficult to describe. However, I would also say that, certainly in my view, it's not at all the case that a consolidation Act will take more time to scrutinise than an Act that changes the law.
You mentioned the planning, legislation which, of course, is very substantial in terms of the areas it covers. But I would suggest that the starting point that is perhaps most useful—and this is a matter for the committee, of course—is not to look at the range of issues that are dealt with in a consolidation Act, but the changes that are important changes.
Rydw i'n credu ei fod e'n wir i ddweud, mewn deddfwrfeydd eraill, fod y broses o ddisgrifio'r newidiadau a disgrifio'r dewisiadau sydd yn cael eu gwneud yn y broses yn sicrhau ffocws ar y prif bethau y byddwn i'n disgwyl fy hun i edrych arnyn nhw mewn manylder, a wedyn mae'r pwyllgorau, rydw i'n credu, wedi samplo, er enghraifft, mewn sesiynau fel hyn, newidiadau eraill a herio a gofyn am esboniadau i sicrhau bod gan y pwyllgor a'r Senedd sicrwydd mai cydgynrhoi yn unig sydd yn digwydd.
Felly, y gwir plaen yw os byddwn ni mewn sefyllfa lle mae craffu cydgynrhoi yn cymryd mwy o amser na chraffu ar ddeddf sy'n newid cyfraith, yn gyflym iawn fe welwn ni y bydd llai a llai o gydgynrhoi yn digwydd, am resymau cwbl amlwg. Felly, mae'n bwysig i ni gael system—a dyma pam roeddwn i'n sôn yn gynharach i'r Cadeirydd am y broses yma o dryloywder ac ymddiriedaeth—system lle mae'r pwyllgor a'r Senedd yn sicr mai cydgynrhoi'n unig sydd yn digwydd, a wedyn nid cwestiynau o ran craffu ar bolisi fyddai'n digwydd ond cwestiynau o ran craffu, 'Pam mae hwn wedi dod o fan hyn? Pam wnaethpwyd y dewis hwnnw yn y cydgynrhoi?'
I think it's true to say that, in other legislatures, the process of describing the changes and describing the options that are used in that process puts a focus on the main issues that I myself would expect to be looking at in detail, and then committees, I think, have sampled, for example, in sessions such as these, other changes and challenged and asked for explanations to ensure that the committee and the Parliament have assurances that it is only consolidation that is happening.
The truth is that if we were in a situation where the scrutiny of consolidation was taking more time than the scrutiniy of legislation that changed the law, we would quite quickly see less and less consolidation happening, for completely obvious reasons. So, it's important that we have a system—and this is why I mentioned earlier to the Chair this process of transparency and trust—a system that assures the committee and the Senedd that it is consolidation only that is happening, and so the questions arising wouldn't be about the scrutiny of policy, but about scrutinising, 'Why has this come from here? Why was that choice made in the consolidation?
A bydd hi'n gyfan gwbl amlwg lle mae'r newidiadau yma wrth gydgynrhoi'n digwydd, drwy ryw fath o dracio, rydw i'n cymryd, achos os ydyn nhw yn newidiadau mân ac annadleuol, dŷn ni hefyd eisiau eu gweld nhw, onid ydym ni, i'r sawl sydd yn craffu?
And it would be entirely clear where these changes in consolidation happened. There will be some tracking method, I take it, because if they're minor, non-controversial changes, we would want to see them regardless, wouldn't we, as people who scrutinise?
Fe wnaf ofyn i Dylan esbonio mewn eiliad sut mae'n digwydd mewn manylder, ond gaf i jest ddweud nad ydw i'n credu ein bod ni'n edrych ar sefyllfa o jest tracio, oherwydd un o'r uchelgeisiau sydd gyda ni fan hyn yw ail-wneud y gyfraith mewn ffordd mwy hygyrch? Felly, efallai nad tracio yw'r ateb, ond bydd esboniad manwl o le mae pob cymal yn dod sy'n newid, a pham mae'r newid yn digwydd. Dylan.
I'll ask Dylan to explain in a minute how it happens in detail, but I would just add that we're not just looking at tracking, because one of the ambitions we have here is to remake the law in a more accessible way. So, maybe tracking isn't the answer, but there will be a detailed explanation of where every clause that's changed has come from and why that change has occurred. Dylan.
Dywedwch fod gyda chi 600 o adrannau, fe fyddai yna, efallai, 10 lle mae yna fân newid yn y gyfraith wedi cael ei wneud. Felly, ar gyfer y 10 adran hynny, byddai yna ddisgrifiad manwl yn esbonio beth yn union sydd wedi cael ei wneud—hynny yw, beth oedd y gyfraith yn ei ddweud yn y lle cyntaf, o ble mae'n dod, a beth yw natur y newid. A'r ail beth y byddem ni'n ei wneud yw esbonio pam rydym ni fel y Llywodraeth yn teimlo bod hyn o fewn beth sydd wedi cael ei gytuno ar gyfer y broses ar gyfer Biliau cydgynrhoi. Felly, byddai hynny'n fwy manwl unrhyw le mae yna newid wedi cael ei wneud.
Wedyn, bydd yna 590, efallai, o adrannau eraill, ac rŷn ni'n credu mai dyma'r pwynt pwysig, mewn ffordd. Rŷn ni'n gobeithio byddwch chi'n ymddiried mewn pobl fel fi lle byddwn ni'n dweud—ac, yn San Steffan, mae'r Parliamentary Counsel yn rhoi tystiolaeth i bwyllgorau—'Wel, mae yna 590 o adrannau fan hyn sydd yr un peth. Does yna ddim newid o ran sylwedd y gyfraith.' Efallai eu bod nhw'n edrych yn wahanol iawn, a byddwn i'n dweud fel arfer y byddan nhw'n edrych yn wahanol iawn, ac mae hwnna'n rhywbeth y bydd, efallai, angen i bobl ddod i ddeall, ond y gwir amdani yw nad oes dim newid.
Nawr, fel roedd y Cwnsler Cyffredinol yn ei ddweud, y drefn yn Llundain yw y byddan nhw ddim yn edrych ar y 590, ond byddan nhw'n edrych ar rai ohonyn nhw, yn cwestiynu'r Cwnsler Seneddol ac yn gofyn, 'Beth yn union sydd wedi digwydd fan hyn? Allwch chi esbonio pam nad oes yna ddim newid yn fan hyn?' Felly, mae hwn yn dod lawr i'r broses o'r dogfennau sydd yn cael eu cynhyrchu gyda'r Bil. Felly, dyna i ni yw'r peth pwysig—ein bod ni'n esbonio beth rŷn ni wedi gwneud a bod y ffocws ar hynny yn hytrach na beth yw sylwedd y ddeddfwriaeth, achos os bydd y broses craffu yn edrych ar sylwedd y ddeddfwriaeth sydd heb newid, wedyn bydd y broses yn cwympo, rŷn ni'n meddwl.
Say you have 600 sections, there would be, perhaps, 10 where there are minor changes in law made. So, for those 10 sections, there would be a detailed description explaining exactly what has been done—that is, what the law said in the first instance, where it comes from and what the nature of the change is. And the second thing we would do would be to explain why we as the Government feel that this comes within what has been agreed for the process for consolidation Bills. So, that would be more detailed wherever a change has been made.
There would then be 590 other sections, perhaps, and we believe that this is the important point, in a way. We hope that you will trust people like us, where we say—and, in Westminster, the Parliamentary Counsel give evidence to committees—'Well, there are 590 sections here that are exactly the same. There have been no changes in terms of the substance of law.' Perhaps they'll look quite different, and we would say, usually, they will look different, and that's something that people will, perhaps, need to come to understand, but the truth is that there will be no change.
As the Counsel General said, the procedure in London is that they wouldn't look at the 590, but they would look at some of them and they would question and challenge the Parliamentary Counsel to ask, 'What exactly has happened here? Could you explain why no change has been made here?' So, this comes down to the process of the documents that are produced alongside the Bill. So, that, for us, is the important thing—that we explain what we've done and that the focus is on that rather than on what the substance of the legislation is, because if the scrutiny process focuses on the substance of the legislation that hasn't changed, then the process will fall, we believe.
If I can just follow up on that, as you know, this committee overflows with trust, but, of course, the Standing Orders will be, obviously, the framework, and the flexibility that you're talking about within that process, obviously, will operate within the Standing Orders that apply.
Chair, can I just say—? I would like, if I may, to emphasise this point: if the programme is to work, we're absolutely incentivised, all of us, I think, to find a way of working that satisfies a streamlined scrutiny process, but a robust scrutiny process as well. So, I'm very mindful of the fact that in the next Assembly term, we hope that there'll be a number of Bills coming forward to consolidate law, and there'll be a process of learning, I think, along the way. The first Bill to come through will inevitably raise questions in the margin that, perhaps, none of us have focused on quite in the way that with hindsight we might, and that's just an inevitable part of the process. So, I would be very open—I think we should all be open—to reviewing how that first Bill has gone, or couple of Bills have gone, just so we can learn some lessons, if there are any, as I'm sure there will be.
We've had, of course, the experience of the Brexit legislation, which has taken on many of these sorts of issues. Carwyn Jones.
Ie. Ynglŷn â pharagraff 73, os cofiaf i, mae yna sôn yn fanna am y ffaith y byddai’n rhaid ailgategoreiddio peth deddfwriaeth sylfaenol a pheth is-ddeddfwriaeth. Felly, a all y Cwnsler Cyffredinol roi enghreifftiau o ddarpariaeth, drwy gydgrynhoi, efallai, a fyddai’n cael ei symud o gategori deddfwriaeth sylfaenol i is-ddeddfwriaeth, yn seiliedig ar ddull y Senedd o ymdrin â’r cydbwysedd rhwng deddfwriaeth sylfaenol ac is-ddeddfwriaeth? Ac felly, i’r gwrthwyneb, oes yna enghreifftiau o ddeddfwriaeth a fyddai’n symud o is-ddeddfwriaeth i mewn i ddeddfwriaeth sylfaenol?
Yes. In terms of paragraph 73, there's talk there of the fact that there would be a need to recategorise some primary legislation and some subordinate legislation. So, can the Counsel General give examples of provision that could, by consolidation, be moved from the category of primary legislation to subordinate legislation, based on the Senedd's approach to the balance between primary and subordinate legislation? And vice versa, therefore, can the Counsel General give examples of provision that could, by consolidation, be moved from subordinate legislation to primary legislation?
Efallai'r enghreifftiau gorau i'w rhoi yw'r enghreifftiau sy'n deillio o waith Comisiwn y Gyfraith ar y gyfraith cynllunio, oherwydd mae dadansoddiad mewn aml i fan sy'n awgrymu y dylai hynny ddigwydd. Felly, yn adran 74 o'r Town and Country Planning Act 1990, mae'n caniatáu i Weinidogion gwneud gorchymyn datblygu, sy'n esbonio pa gyrff y dylid ymgynghori â nhw yng nghyd-destun unrhyw gynnig am ddatblygu. Ar y cyfan, mae'r rheini i gyd yn cael eu rhestru yn y development order, ond mae un corff ar ôl sydd ar wyneb y Ddeddf, sy'n ymwneud â datblygu seits carafannau, er enghraifft. So, mae Comisiwn y Gyfraith yn awgrymu, er mwyn adlewyrchu practis drafftio, practis deddfu cyfredol, symud y cyfeiriad hwnnw o wyneb y Ddeddf i'r gorchymyn datblygu. Mae enghreifftiau eraill yn nhermau cynnwys ffurflenni ac ati, a chynnwys prosesau, y maen nhw'n argymell dylai fynd o wyneb y Ddeddf i ddeddfwriaeth eilradd.
Wedyn, ar y llaw arall, mae gennych chi enghreifftiau lle mae deddfwriaeth eilradd yn newid effaith deddfwriaeth sylfaenol ac maen nhw'n awgrymu, yn yr achosion hynny, y dylai hynny fod ar wyneb y Ddeddf yn hytrach nag yn y ddeddfwriaeth eilradd. Mae rhywbeth sy'n codi yng nghyd-destun y community infrastructure levy hefyd. Maen nhw'n awgrymu y dylai un o'r camau sydd ynghlwm â hynny, sydd ar hyn o bryd drwy ddeddfwriaeth eilradd, fod yn symud i wyneb y Ddeddf. Felly, mae enghreifftiau'n symud y ddwy ffordd yn y cyd-destun hwnnw.
Perhaps the best examples to give are those that emanate from the work of the Law Commission on planning law, because there is an analysis there that suggests that that should, indeed, happen. So, in section 74 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, it does allow Ministers to make development orders that explain which bodies should be consulted with in the context of any proposal for development. On the whole, those are all listed in the development order, but one body remains on the face of the Act with regard to the development of caravan sites, for example. So, the Law Commission suggests that, in order to reflect the drafting practice, the current practice, that should be moved from the face of the legislation to the development order. There are other examples in terms of the content of forms and so on, and the content of processes, that they suggest should go from the face of the legislation to subordinate legislation.
On the other hand, you have examples where subordinate legislation changes the effect of primary legislation, and they suggest that, in those cases, that should then be on the face of the legislation, rather than in subordinate legislation. Something arises with regard to the community infrastructure levy as well. They suggest that one of the clauses in that regard, which is currently in subordinate legislation, should move to the face of the legislation. So, there are examples of moving in both directions.
Felly, ynglŷn ag is-ddeddfwriaeth, ym mha ffordd y gall gweithdrefnau newid ynglŷn ag is-ddeddfwriaeth, er enghraifft, ynglŷn â newid gweithdrefn y Cynulliad ei hun ar gyfer is-ddeddfwriaeth er mwyn gwella cysondeb neu gydlyniad y corff perthnasol o ddeddfwriaeth?
Therefore, in terms of subordinate legislation, in what way could procedures change for subordinate legislation, for example, in terms of changing the Assembly's procedure for subordinate legislation in order to improve consistency or coherence of the relevant body of legislation?
O ran prosesau'r Senedd i ddelio â deddfwriaeth eilradd, ar y cyfan, dwi ddim yn credu bod angen newid prosesau. Un enghraifft o le y buasai hynny, efallai, ddim yn wir yw, mae'n amlwg bod lot o botensial gennym ni i leihau'r nifer o Orchmynion a deddfwriaeth eilradd sy'n bodoli a buasem ni'n gosod nod i sicrhau mai dim ond un set o reoliadau sydd yn berthnasol i unrhyw bŵer, er enghraifft, er mwyn sicrhau hygyrchedd. Hefyd, pan fydd rheoliadau'n newid, gallwn ni sicrhau mwy o hygyrchedd drwy ail-wneud y ddeddfwriaeth eilradd yn hytrach na jest ei wneud fel gwelliannau i ddeddfwriaeth sydd eisoes ar y llyfrau statud, a bod gyda chi un set o reoliadau gyday un pŵer, ac wedyn, fel gyda'r pwynt a wnaeth Dai Lloyd gynnau ynglŷn â thracio, fod y Cynulliad yn edrych ar fersiwn sy'n ddiwygiedig ond yn dangos y newidiadau mewn tracio. Felly, byddai hynny yn golygu bod angen rhyw fath o broses newydd yn y Senedd fel bod penderfyniad y Senedd yn berthnasol jest i'r newidiadau, fel y mae ar hyn o bryd. Buasai hynny yn gorfodi, rwy'n credu, newid proses, ond ar ddiwedd y dydd, cwestiwn i'r Senedd wrth gwrs yw hynny.
In terms of the Senedd's processes to deal with subordinate legislation, on the whole, I don't think that the processes need to be changed. One example of where that might not be the case is, clearly there's a great deal of potential for us to decrease the number of Orders and subordinate legislation that exist, and we would set an aim to ensure that only one set of regulations should relate to any particular power, for example, in order to ensure accessibility. Also, when regulations change, we could ensure greater accessibility through re-making the subordinate legislation rather than just putting it forward as amendments to legislation that's already on the statute book, and that you have one set of regulations to one power, and then, as with the point that Dai Lloyd made with regard to tracking, the Assembly could look at a version that has been amended but that shows the changes in tracked form. Perhaps that would mean that there should be some sort of new process in the Senedd, so that the Senedd's decision would be relevant just to the changes as it currently stands. That, I think, would require a change in process, but ultimately that's a question for the Senedd.
Ocê. A'r un diwethaf wrthyf i am nawr: ynglŷn â'r gyfraith hawliau dynol, ym mha ffordd allwch chi sicrhau bod y Cynulliad yn ystyried sut i sicrhau bod deddfwriaeth yn ddeddfwriaeth sydd yn gyson â'r gyfraith hawliau dynol? A hefyd ym mha ffordd byddai hawliau dynol yn cael eu gwneud yn rhan o'r corff o ddeddfwriaeth yn y pen draw? Os ŷn ni'n dweud yn y pen draw ein bod ni'n mynd i gael rhyw fath o god, efallai, sydd yn mynd i fod yn rhywbeth lle mae pobl yn gallu edrych ar y gyfraith, ynglŷn â lle mae cyfraith Cymru, ym mha ffordd allwch chi sicrhau bod hawliau dynol yn rhan o'r cod hwnnw? Rŷm ni'n siarad am gamau lan at hwnna nawr. A yw e felly yn bosibl i gydgrynhoi cyfraith hawliau dynol wrth gofio, wrth gwrs, fod y gyfraith ei hunan yn newid gyda phob achos?
Okay. And the last question from me for now: in terms of the humans rights legislation, in what way can you ensure that the Assembly considers how to ensure that legislation is legislation that is consistent with human rights legislation? Also, in what way would human rights be included in the body of legislation ultimately? If we're talking about ultimately having some sort of code where people can look at the law, and where Welsh law is, in what way will you ensure that human rights are part of that code? We're talking about steps up to that now. Is it therefore possible to consolidate human rights legislation given, of course, that the legislation itself is changing with every case?
Wel, mae adran 3 o'r Ddeddf Hawliau Dynol 1998 yn golygu bod gofyniad arnom ni i ddehongli deddfwriaeth, lle gallwn ni, yng ngoleuni termau'r Ddeddf honno, felly yn gyson gyda'r hawliau dynol yn gyffredinol sydd yn y Ddeddf. Felly, mae gwahaniaeth, rwy'n credu, mewn sefyllfa lle mae'r llysoedd wedi edrych ar gymal neu ran o'n Deddfau ni a dweud, 'Er mwyn sicrhau ei bod hi'n gyson gyda hawliau dynol, dyma'r dadansoddiad, neu dyma sut dylai'r cymal hwnnw weithio.' Rwy'n gweld yn y sefyllfa honno, lle mae penderfyniad llys wedi bod, ei bod hi'n bosibl dod â'r ffaith honno mewn i'r broses o gydgrynhoi fel ei bod hi ar wyneb Deddf, er enghraifft.
Ond os oes gyda chi sefyllfa lle mae ein cyfraith ni ar hyn o bryd efallai ddim yn gyson gyda gofyniad y Ddeddf, a bod mwy nag un ffordd o gysoni ein Deddf ni gyda hawliau dynol—hynny yw, dyna'r enghraifft glasurol o ddewisiadau polisi—fuaswn i ddim yn defnyddio'r broses o gydgrynhoi i ddelio â hynny. Felly, os yw'r ateb yn glir ac mae'r llys wedi penderfynu mai dyma sydd ei angen fel diffiniad neu fel dadansoddiad o'r cymal hwn, mae hynny yn achos lle gallech chi ddefnyddio elfen o hawliau dynol i grynhoi, ond os oes dewis polisi, na. Ydy hwnna yn ateb?
Well, section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 means that we have a requirement to interpret legislation, where we can, in the light of that legislation, and in accordance with the human rights in that Act. So, there is a difference, I believe, in a situation where the courts have looked at a clause or a part of our legislation, and said, 'Well, in order to ensure that it is consistent with human rights, this is the interpretation or this is how that clause should operate.' I see in that situation, where a court decision has been made, that it would be possible to bring that fact into the consolidation process so that it is on the face of legislation, for example.
But if you have a situation where our legislation as it currently stands isn't consistent with the requirements of the Human Rights Act, and that there is more than one way of ensuring that consistency of our legislation with human rights—namely, the classic example of policy choices—I wouldn't then use the consolidation process to deal with that. So, if the answer is clear, and a court has decided that this is what needs to be put forward as a definition or an interpretation of this clause, that's a case where you could use an element of human rights to consolidate, but if it's about policy choice, then no. Does that answer your question?
Ydy. [Anghlywadwy.] Os edrychwch chi ar systemau eraill lle mae yna god, ydy'r gyfraith ynglŷn ag achosion, sef precedents, yn chwarae rôl mor gryf yn y gwledydd hynny? Achos, beth rwy'n meddwl amdano yn ymarferol yw, os yn y pen —. Dwi'n gwybod ein bod ni'n symud ymlaen at y cod nawr. Ond, os yn y pen draw mae yna god o ryw fath, neu ryw fath o ddogfen lle mae pobl yn edrych ar gyfraith Cymru, ym mha ffordd gallech chi sicrhau bod cyfraith achosion yn rhan o hwnna? Dyw e ddim yn gweithio yn yr un ffordd mewn awdurdodaethau eraill, yw e, lle nad yw precedent yn chwarae'r un rôl ynglŷn â'r gyfraith gyffredin?
Yes. [Inaudible.] So if you look at other systems where there's a code, does the law relating to precedents play such a strong role in those countries? Because what I'm thinking about on a practical level is that, ultimately—. I know we've moved on to the code now. But if, ultimately, there is some sort of code, some sort of document where people look at the law of Wales, in what way can you ensure that the law of precedent is part of that? It doesn't work in the same way in other jurisdictions, does it, where precedent doesn't have the same role in terms of the common law?
Wel, mae'n dibynnu. Fel ŷch chi'n dweud yn y cwestiwn, wrth gwrs mewn lot o wledydd, dyw effaith penderfyniad llys ddim yn cario'r un pwysau, ac ati. Ond mae'r enghreifftiau rŷm ni wedi edrych arnyn nhw o ran lle mae deddfwrfeydd eraill wedi cydgrynhoi a chodeiddio—hynny yw, Seland Newydd, rhannau o Awstralia, ac ati—mae'r rheini, wrth gwrs, yn gweithio o fewn yr un gyfundrefn ag yr ydym ni.
O ran y cwestiwn lle roeddech chi'n sôn a ydy e'n addas i gymryd cwestiynau o'r gyfraith gyffredin, common law, i mewn i god, buaswn i'n dweud pan fydd gennych chi sefyllfa lle mae diffiniad penodol, er enghraifft, neu fod gennych chi benderfyniad yn y common law sydd wedi bod yn rhan o'r gyfraith am gyfnod hir iawn, mae gennych chi gyfle wedyn i ddefnyddio elfen fach o'r gyfraith gyffredin yn y broses o gydgrynhoi a chodeiddio. Buaswn i ddim yn dweud hynny'n ehangach. Ond dywedwch, er enghraifft, fod gennych chi, fel roeddem ni'n sôn yng nghyd-destun hawliau dynol, gymal wedi cael ei ddiffinio mewn ffordd gan lysoedd yn gyson dros gyfnod hir, wel mae gennych chi achos dros ddefnyddio'r diffiniad hwnnw yn y Ddeddf sydd wedi ei chydgrynhoi. Neu efallai bod gennych chi enghraifft le—ac rwy'n credu bod hwn hefyd yn codi yng nghyd-destun cyfraith cynllunio—er bod gennych chi bwerau eang ar wyneb y Ddeddf, mae'r gyfraith gyffredin wedi dweud bod angen cysidro A, B ac C cyn eu defnyddio nhw, ac mae'r gyfraith hynny'n settled, wel, mae gennych chi achos wedyn dros ddefnyddio'r gyfraith gyffredin.
Ond, buaswn i'n dweud, wrth gwrs, fod yn rhaid bod yn ofalus yn fan hyn. Ar un ochr y sbectrwm mae gennych chi benderfyniad o Dŷ'r Arglwyddi sydd wedi bod mewn lle ers degawdau ac mae'r llysoedd wedi bod yn ei ddefnyddio ers degawdau. Wel, fel man cychwyn, mae hynny'n fwy sicr nag efallai penderfyniad gan un o'r llysoedd is sydd yn benderfyniad mwy diweddar, efallai. Yn y cyd-destun hwnnw, buasech chi'n fwy gofalus o ddefnyddio'r math yna o egwyddor er mwyn diffinio neu ehangu diffiniad yn y cod neu yn y Ddeddf cydgrynhoi, buaswn i'n dweud.
Well, it depends. As you say in the question, in many countries the effect of court decisions doesn't carry the same weight, and so on. But in the examples that we've looked at in terms of where other legislatures have consolidated and codified—for example, New Zealand, Australia, and so on—those do work according to the same system as we do.
The question you asked about whether it's appropriate to take questions from common law into a code, I would say, when you have a situation where there is a specific definition, for example, or that you have a decision in common law that has been part of law for a very, very long time, you then have an opportunity to use a small element of common law in that consolidation and codification process. I wouldn't say that in a wider sense. But say, for example, as we mentioned in the context of human rights, that you have a clause that has been defined in a way by courts consistently over a long period of time, well you have a case for using that definition then in the legislation that is then consolidated. Or perhaps you may have an example where—and I think this also arises in the context of planning law—even though you have wide-ranging powers on the face of the Bill, common law says that you have to consider A, B, and C before using those powers, and that law is settled, well, you then have a case for using common law.
But I would say that, of course, you have to be very careful in this instance. At one end of the spectrum, you have, perhaps, a decision made by the House of Lords that has been in place for decades and the courts have been applying that for decades. As a starting point, that is more certain than, perhaps, a decision made by one of the lower courts that is a more recent decision, perhaps. In that context, you would be more careful in using that kind of principle to define or to expand a definition in the code or in the consolidation legislation, I would say.
Okay. Thank you. As part of the process of consolidation, obviously the objective is to have a piece of consolidated law that is clear, is understandable and is fairly inclusive of the totality of the law in that particular area. But, of course, in achieving that, there are enormous numbers of amendments, consequential changes and so on. You address within your paper the need for possibly having those in two parts, possibly two pieces of legislation, and so on. Is the intention to move down the road of having specifically separate pieces, or one entire piece but only one part of it goes into the code, into the category? How will that work in practice, because you'll have the two going through side by side? As you've just identified, some of the consequential amendments can have all sorts of other implications as well. So you may have these two going side by side as they go through the process. How do you think that might work?
Well, I think if accessibility is the test that we set ourselves, there is a case. And I think it's for reflection, really. It's not entirely clear cut. But there is certainly a case, isn't there, for ensuring that the law that continues to be the operative law in a principal Act is as little encumbered by the functional provisions, which get you from A to B, for example, as possible. And so that is the case for saying that there will be one Bill, which is the principal consolidating Bill, if you like, and then there'll be a separate Bill, which is the one for consequential amendments. And that has happened before. The UK Parliament has done it, for example, in relation to housing and to health, and in other areas as well. And we, as lawyers, will know of many Acts that refer to the subject matter and then have consequential provisions or miscellaneous provisions as a part of the heading. And that's in order to make transition, or to make sure that the law that remains removes references to Wales, for example, in our particular context.
I think you're right to say, Chair, that from the point of view of how that moves through the Assembly, it seems to me to make sense to introduce those on the same day, for them to be subject to the same timetable. Obviously, the process that a committee wishes to apply to scrutinising those two Bills, then, is obviously a matter for the committee, but it would seem to me sensible that they're considered in parallel for the reason that you've just given: amendments in one may very well affect the other and require amendments to those. So it's important to see those as a package. And, obviously, when they come to the Senedd making a decision on whether they should pass or not, plainly, it would not be appropriate for one to pass if the other was not. So, there's a logic and a rationale for them to be following the same process at the same point in time through the journey here.
Obviously, there's a learning curve on how this process will work, and that will be something to look at very closely. One of the other issues, of course, that arises is take, for example, consolidation of education. Well, education is broken into a number of different categories, so you might—. How would that work? For example, you might have a higher education element consolidated. Of course, there are many other strands in terms of legislation regarding education. Social care can be another example, but there are others as well. Would the intention be to have one single piece of consolidated legislation that incorporates all the categories within that, or would you envisage that there might be, within the code, actually, different chapters, separate sections? So, you have the consolidated legislation relating to higher education; you have the consolidated legislation relating to other categories.
I think it depends on the subject matter and the scale of the subject area as well partly, Chair, but certainly I would envisage that, in the example that you've just given, education, you could expect to see more than one principal Act—schools, higher education, regulation of the profession, for example. You can imagine different categories for principal Acts, with the secondary legislation then cascading beneath each of those principal Acts. Again, you mentioned social care. Clearly, there's been a degree of consolidation in that field anyway, so you could imagine one of the principal Acts, for example, being the Social Care and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, and the other being the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016. So, those would be examples of possible building blocks, but I think that will vary, of course, in each subject area, and the taxonomy, I think, gives a flavour or an indication; it's certainly not settled, and it's an iterative document, but it gives you an indication of that sort of structure.
Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. I barhau efo'r manylion technegol astrus, buasai rhai yn meddwl, ynglŷn â chodeiddio, mae paragraffau 89 i 91 ym mhennod 4 yn gofyn am yr angen i ddiogelu strwythurau cyfreithiol, efallai, wrth y broses o godeiddio. Felly, y cwestiwn sy'n deillio o hynna ydy: a fuasech chi'n ymhelaethu ar y syniad yma o ddefnyddio Rheolau Sefydlog y Senedd yma i gynnal strwythur cyfraith Cymru? A allai hyn gyfyngu ar ddull y Llywodraeth o ddeddfu yn y dyfodol, neu efallai ei ehangu?
Thank you very much, Chair. So, to continue with the technical matters and the complex issues regarding codification, paragraphs 89 to 91 in chapter 4 refer to the need to safeguard legal structures from the codification process. So, a question that arises from that is: could you expand on this idea of using the Assembly's Standing Orders to maintain the structure of Welsh law? Could this constrain a future Government's approach to legislating, or perhaps expand it?
Jest i fynd nôl am eiliad yn gyflym i'r trafodaethau cynnar gawsom ni ar ddechrau'r broses yma yn y pwyllgor ar ddechrau'r Ddeddf yn mynd trwy'r Senedd, un o'r camau cyntaf yw creu'r cod, neu un o'r camau sylfaenol. Mae gwerth y broses o godeiddio ynghlwm yn y cwestiwn o gynnal y cod i mewn i'r dyfodol. Hynny yw, os ydych chi'n mynd i jest basio Deddf sydd tu allan i'r cod, mae hynny'n mynd i wanhau gwerth y broses i ni fel deddfwrfa.
O ran beth mae hynny'n golygu o ran prosesau'r Senedd, wrth gwrs, cwestiwn i'r Llywydd ac i Aelodau yw hynny, ond buaswn i'n dweud bod angen cychwyn o'r cam lle byddai angen i'r Aelod sy'n cyflwyno Deddf i newid y gyfraith gyfiawnhau pam na ddylai hynny ddigwydd o fewn strwythur y cod, ac wedyn byddai'n rhaid i'r Senedd benderfynu p'un ai bod y Senedd yn cytuno gyda'r ddadl honno. Ond rwy jest eisiau bod yn glir, achos rwy'n gwybod bod Aelodau wedi codi'r cwestiwn yma yn y gorffennol: cwestiwn yw hyn am le mae'r gyfraith yn cael ei chyhoeddi yn hytrach na gallu'r Senedd a gallu'r Aelodau i newid y gyfraith. Dyw hyn ddim yn amharu ar hynny mewn unrhyw ffordd; mae jest yn gwestiwn o lle rŷch chi'n darganfod y gyfraith pan mae wedi cael ei gwneud.
Just to go back quickly to the early discussions that we had at the beginning of this process with the committee when the legislation started going through the Senedd, one of the first steps is to create the code, or one of the fundamental steps. The value of the codification process is involved in the question of maintaining the code for the future. That is, if you're just going to pass legislation outwith the code, that is going to weaken the value of the process for us as a legislature.
In terms of what that means with regard to the Senedd's processes, that's a question for the Llywydd and for Members, but I would say that we need to start from the point where the Member who puts forward a Bill to change the law would need to justify why that wouldn't happen within the structure of the code, and then it would be up to the Senedd to decide whether it agrees with that argument or not. But I just want to be clear, because I know that Members have asked this question in the past: this is a question about where the law is published rather than the Senedd's ability and Members' ability to change the law. This doesn't affect that in any way; it's just a question of where you find or access the law when it's made.
Diolch am hynna. I symud ymlaen, mae paragraffau 93 a 94 yn ymdrin ag is-ddeddfwriaeth. Felly, a allaf i ofyn, a fyddai gweledigaeth y Cwnsler Cyffredinol ar gyfer codeiddio yn golygu y bydd llai o ddarnau o is-ddeddfwriaeth yn cael eu gosod gerbron y Senedd yn y dyfodol?
Thank you for that. Moving on, paragraphs 93 and 94 refer to subordinate legislation. Could I ask, therefore, would the Counsel General's vision for codification mean that fewer pieces of subordinate legislation are laid before the Assembly in the future?
Mae'r cwestiwn o gymhlethdod yn y gyfraith, wrth gwrs, yn perthyn i drefniant Deddfau sylfaenol. Ond, mae rhifau a chymhlethdod deddfwriaeth eilradd yn rhan sydd yn gymaint o broblem, efallai hyd yn oed yn fwy o broblem mewn rhai meysydd. Fe wnaeth y Senedd basio dros 300 o SIs yn 2015, cyn ein bod ni'n dechrau ar y broses o Brexit hyd yn oed. Felly, dyma le mae llawer o'r sialens i ni. Ac o ddilyn yr egwyddorion wnes i amlinellu yn yr ateb i Carwyn Jones yn gynharach, hynny yw, ceisio sicrhau mai un set o reoliadau sydd yn perthyn i bob pŵer i greu rheoliadau, a bod y Senedd, buaswn i'n gobeithio, yn darganfod ffordd o allu ail-wneud rheoliadau'n cynnwys newidiadau, a dangos y newidiadau i Aelodau yn y ffordd roeddech chi'n disgrifio gynnau, fel tracio, er enghraifft. Buaswn i'n gobeithio bod hynny'n bosib er mwyn sicrhau wedyn bod llai o rifau yn y ddeddfwriaeth eilradd.
The question of complexity in the law, of course, is relevant to the organisation of primary legislation. But, the numbers and complexity of subordinate legislation is just as much of a problem, if not more so in some areas. The Senedd passed over 300 SIs in 2015, before it started the process of Brexit, even. So, this is where a great many of the challenges for us arise. And from following the principles that I outlined in the response to Carwyn Jones earlier, namely, trying to ensure that there's one set of regulations for each power to create regulations, and that the Senedd, I would hope, would find a way of being able to remake regulations including changes, and showing those changes to Members in a way that you described earlier, through tracking, for example. I would hope that that would be possible to ensure then that there is less subordinate legislation.
Diolch am hynny. Y cwestiwn nesaf ydy: a fydd dull gwahanol o ddrafftio pwerau llunio rheoliadau mewn Biliau?
Thank you for that. My next question is: will there be a different approach to the drafting of regulation-making powers in Bills?
Dwi ddim yn credu bod yr hyn rŷn ni'n sôn amdano yn golygu bod angen drafftio pwerau mewn ffordd wahanol. Efallai bydd angen ymateb o ran Rheolau Sefydlog i'r prosesau rŷn ni newydd drafod, ond, o ran drafftio pwerau, dwi ddim wir yn credu bod angen gwneud hynny.
I don't think that what we're talking about means that we have to draft powers in a different way. Perhaps there'll need to be responses in terms of Standing Orders to the process that we've just discussed, but, in terms of drafting powers, I don't think we need to do that.
Diolch. Mae yna gwestiwn yn y fan hyn ynglŷn â newidiadau i offerynnau statudol a sut fuasai'r pwyllgor hwn yn craffu ar unrhyw newidiadau. Ond, dwi'n cymryd mai'r ateb ynglŷn â tracio fydd yn gwneud hynny yn amlwg, o ateb Dylan hefyd yn gynharach, os bydd y newidiadau yn amlwg, yn enwedig i aelodau'r pwyllgor yma, beth sydd wedi newid, bydd hi'n gwneud hi'n haws i ni graffu heb orfod mynd drwy gannoedd.
Thank you. There is a question here on changes to statutory instruments and how this committee would scrutinise such changes. But, I take it that the answer regarding tracking would make that clear, and from Dylan's answer earlier, if the changes are made clear, especially to members of this committee, it'll be clear what will have changed and it will make it easier for us to scrutinise without having to go through hundreds.
Dyna hoffwn i weld a buaswn i'n barod i weithredu ar y sail honno. Ond wrth gwrs, mae'r cwestiwn o sut ŷch chi eisiau craffu yn gwestiwn i bwyllgor Senedd, ond buaswn i'n awgrymu bod hynny'n ffordd ddefnyddiol ac effeithiol o wneud hynny.
That's what we'd like to see, and we would be willing to proceed on that basis. But, it's about how you want to scrutinise, and that's a question for the committee, but I would suggest that that would be a useful and effective way of doing that.
Ocê, a'r cwestiwn olaf gennyf i felly, eto, mae paragraffau 93 a 94 yn cyfeirio at weithdrefnau newydd ar gyfer craffu ar offerynnau statudol. Allwch chi ddarparu mwy o wybodaeth, ar ben beth dŷch chi wedi'i ddweud eisoes, ynglŷn â hynny?
Okay, and the final question from me, again, paragraphs 93 and 94 refer to new procedures for the scrutiny of statutory instruments. Can you provide more information, on top of what you've already said, on that?
Rwy'n credu bod beth rwyf wedi'i ddweud eisoes yn delio â'r rhan fwyaf o hynny.
I think that what I've already said deals with the majority of that.
Yes, paragraph 103 of chapter 4 says that the limits of the Assembly's powers will be a very significant constraint on the process of codification, which I think we all know. Can you give any examples of where that restraint would bite, assuming you have to come through the Assembly?
Well, I'm confident I don't need to rehearse the examples where there are problems in the current devolution settlement and the justice commission.
I'm sure you wouldn't, Chair. The justice commission report, I think, describes many of those. But, practical examples in the context of codification—. You can imagine that legislation dealing with social services would, in a rationally organised devolution settlement, also encompass some areas that currently touch on the operation of the family courts, for example, at the moment, which would be outside the purview of a code on the basis that it's not devolved. You might want to see that a piece of legislation that brings together the obligations on public services to collaborate would have a gap in it in not being able to cover the police service under our current devolution settlement.
So, from my point of view, it leads to a situation where approaching a code expecting to find everything that would rationally cover an area, which the code describes itself as seeking to cover—. Because of those jagged edges in our devolution settlement, if those aren't fixed, we will not be able to get to that more rational approach. That's not to say that those codes are not extremely valuable in the context of the devolution settlement—plainly, they are—but I think we would wish to see some aspects included in them that, because of the settlement, we will not be able to.
Will the codes then include signposts so that practitioners and the public will know where to look if a particular area of law is not included in the code?
That is the sort of thing, where we publish the code, we'll want to make sure is available. And we've been looking at channels for communicating that sort of thing. Some of it may be appropriate on the face of an Act, some of it may be an online resource, and possibly the Law Wales website might be a good channel for communicating some of that work.
What we've discussed this afternoon, with classification and codification particularly, is a massive undertaking.
Do we have any idea what the timescale will be to get to a point where we have a code in place—how long that would take? And secondly, have any approaches been made to practitioners or academia to provide support to our already hard-pressed team of lawyers?
Well, on the first point, around timescale, we've been keen from the start of this process to make it clear that this is the work of very many years, isn't it, and the sooner we can get under way, the better. But the task is, as you say in your question, extremely significant. The point of imposing the duty on the Government, of course, was to drive the resource and the policy focus that goes with that, as you obviously know. So, I'm not in a position to set a time frame on it. I'm keen to make sure that the work around classification and publishing law in a more accessible way starts as soon as possible, because that is a process that, at least in terms of future law, we can embark upon, as I say, early in the next Assembly term, and that will be of progressive value to people over a period of time. And then, of course, the rest of it depends upon having Assembly time to consolidate, doing that alongside the law reform programme of the Government in the next Assembly, judgments around scrutiny—all of those will feed into the speed at which we can make progress in this area. And I know the committee's keen for progress to be made as soon and as rapidly as possible in relation to that.
And then, the legal innovation lab, which you launched at the end of last month, is there a role for that at all in this process?
Well, part of the focus that we've wanted to bring to this—and as your earlier question identified—is the role of the legal sector at large to contributing to the expansion of knowledge in this area. I mentioned in my earlier question the Law Wales website—Cyfraith Cymru—which I'm hoping we'll be in a position, Easter-time next year perhaps, to have that launched. That will be a repository for commentary and analysis on the law in Wales. Clearly, there is a body of material that the Government can generate, which the Assembly can generate, if it wishes to do that. But I wanted to find a way of working with the professions in Wales, so that we get content from practitioners as well; we've had some very encouraging discussions with the Law Society.
On the question of the technology, I was able to announce some EU funding for the law innovation lab in Swansea University last week. That's intended to enable the testing and development of applications in artificial intelligence and machine reading in law, and then for those to be tested with technology companies and law firms and practitioners, to make them real and applied, if you like. So that's a very exciting development, I think. And the Office of the Legislative Counsel is working on a pilot, which, Dylan, you could perhaps speak about, with Swansea University around machine reading in particular, which looks at how we can search legislation more quickly. Do you want to give a little more detail around that?
Yes, just briefly. The idea is that, in future, we may be making law not just in Welsh and English, but also in code, and that there'll be different layers to the legislation. And what we're working with Swansea University on doing is—it's essentially a form of trying to recognise patterns within legislation, so that the machine can start to understand, for example, 'You've created an offence here', and it starts to look at what words we use when we draft legislation to create offences. So the machine starts to learn, 'Right, there are maybe 10 different ways that we can create an offence, different formulations in normal language', and the machine understands that's an offence. So that that improves, hopefully—if there are any inconsistencies in drafting that are unnecessary, we would try and eliminate them, but, ultimately, the machine starts to understand what's going on in the legislation, so that we then get to a point when you can start to interrogate certain things, such as, what offences have been created in this legislation. And the endgame is that, for example, if you look at our legislation on residential landlord and tenant, there might be a mechanism where an individual would be able to answer certain questions like, 'Are you a tenant in Wales? What kind of tenancy do you have?' And then the tenant will explain a problem that he or she has and the process would, essentially, read through the code that's been generated for the renting homes legislation and answer the questions.
So, this is—we're a long way away from all of this, but this is the direction of travel for providing information. People want information that's tailored to them. The Counsel General mentions the all-Wales website, the Cyfraith Cymru website. There is, of course, a value in writing articles about legislation and things of that nature, but, in some categories, like something like residential landlord and tenant or tax legislation, are you—you know, how much tax do you have to pay? When do you have to pay tax? Things that are more conducive to 'yes' or 'no' answers— that's where the machine code can come in.
On the question of the all-Wales website we've done some targeted user research in the last few months to get a sense of co-production into this, to understand what users would find helpful. Claire, do you want to say a little bit about that?
Certainly. We've been working with a company to help us to develop the new website and they've gone out and met with people from Shelter Cymru and Citizens Advice, and asked them what would the new website do for them, and they are remarkably keen to work with us to both provide information for inclusion on the site and to also let us know what kind of information they want to make available to their clients and how we can provide that information.
So, we've got some really interesting information from them about the types of information, how they want it set out, how much downloadable information, how many specific questions—those kind of things. And that's going to really shape the format of the new website, which, as you say, Counsel General, we're hoping to launch around Easter time. And then, from Easter onwards, we'll start to see a growth, we believe, in the content on that website that's generated with their partners—so, Shelter Cymru, Citizens Advice—.
Well, I know Alexa would like—I mean Carwyn Jones would like to ask some more. [Laughter.]
I'm intrigued by this idea of drafting legislation in machine code. Now, machine code to me is something that you did in the 1980s, when you fed it into either a Spectrum or a BBC computer and then it didn't work. [Laughter.] So, what are we talking about here, when we say 'drafting in machine code'?
You're really pushing my knowledge now.
As I understand it, it's different layering of data. So, at one layer, you have the data that is just language—so, as I say, Welsh or English. But then there's another layer that is the data that a machine is able to read and understand, so that you then are able to ask questions of the machine in a way that it doesn't then have to try and read the language, it reads the code.
It's not doing clever searching—so, it's not searching for English or Welsh words; it's searching for 'pluses', 'minuses', 'and/ors'.
Can I—? There is a question for me of democratic accountability. There are clearly advantages in this process, but there are questions that need to be worked through, I think—and this is all groundbreaking stuff—around how you scrutinise legislation that is made other than in text to make sure that it does reflect the text. There's some interesting thinking, I think, in the technology community around how peer reviewing some of that could be a useful tool, but that's very innovative stuff.
They told me that doing O-level computer studies in 1984 would help me in the future, otherwise I would have learnt to service a steam engine. [Laughter.]
Well, Counsel General, can I thank you for the session? Obviously, we'll be exploring these areas further. It may not be the most glamorous area of law, but it's certainly one of the most vitally important areas as part of our legislative parliamentary journey.
There will be a transcript, of course, of the evidence for you. Thank you for the succinct answers—and from your colleagues as well. And, obviously, we will be coming back to you at a later stage, as this proceeds. Thank you very much.
We now move on to item 3, instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Orders 21.2, 21.3 or 21.7. And we're on to the code of practice on the exercise of social services functions in relation to advocacy under Part 10 and related parts of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The code sets out the requirements for local authorities to ensure that access to advocacy services and support is available to enable individuals to engage and participate when local authorities are exercising their statutory duties in relation to them, and to arrange an independent professional advocate to facilitate the involvement of individuals in certain circumstances. Any comments, observations?
In which case, we move on to the next item, the Sustainable Drainage (Enforcement) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2019. And of course we have a report, an Order and an explanatory memorandum. This Order amends article 21 of the Sustainable Drainage (Enforcement) (Wales) Order 2018 to provide for an unlimited fine when an offence of failure to comply with a notice is committed. There have been some points identified here.
There's one merits point on pack page 64. The draft report notes a discrepancy between what this Order does and what the explanatory materials say the Order does in relation to changing the limit on fines. The Welsh Government response was received after the papers were circulated, but Members should have hard copies. The Government accepts that the explanatory materials could be clearer. In fact, the explanatory memorandum has already been amended and relaid, and the explanatory note will be amended by the time the Order is actually made.
Okay, that Government response is available. I think we've all had it. It recognises the points that have been made.
Item 4.2 then, the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release and Transboundary Movement) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2019. Again, a report, regulations and explanatory memorandum are before you. These regulations correct deficiencies in Welsh legislation that arise as a result of the UK's exit from the European Union. We as a committee considered the genetically modified organisms regulations 2019 on 13 March of this year. We raised a number of technical points in the report, and these regulations make amendments necessitated by the points that we raised during that scrutiny process. Any comments or observations?
There are a few further points I'd like to make in the draft report. Firstly, these regulations make reference to a number of pieces of EU legislation, and most of that EU legislation has been amended so that it would operate effectively in domestic law after exit day. But there's one piece of EU legislation, namely a Council decision of 2002, that is referred to in these new regulations that does not appear to have been so amended. The draft report asks why is that Council decision different to the other pieces of EU legislation.
Again, the Welsh Government response was received after the papers came in and Members should have hard copies. The Welsh Government says it does not believe that failing to update that Council decision will cause any confusion. But, given that updating that EU legislation in this way has always been left to the UK Government, the Welsh Government says it will discuss the matter with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to consider whether this Council decision needs to be amended.
And there are three merits points in the draft report. These new regulations amend some regulations from 2002. Those original 2002 regulations originally referred to the National Assembly for Wales, as it was, back in 2002. As the 2002 regulations have been amended over the years, they now contain references to both the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Ministers, when in these circumstances they mean the same thing, because the functions of the old Assembly were transferred to the Welsh Ministers. The draft report asked why were the 2002 regulations not tied up so that they referred only to the Welsh Ministers throughout.
And there's a similar point around the use of 'shall' and 'must'. 'Shall' was the fashion back in 2002, now 'must' is the fashion, and there's a mix of both. The Welsh Government response is the same as its previous response on this issue. That is, it might have been desirable to update the 2002 regulations in full, but the pressure of legislating for EU exit has prevented this. The Government adds that the 2002 regulations are not deficient in any way, and that's not in dispute.
The third merits point notes that the explanatory memorandum to these new regulations were made on 5 November 2019, but paragraph 1.2 of the memorandum states that exit day will be on 31 October 2019. But, of course, by 5 November, we knew that exit day had been changed to 11 p.m on 31 January 2020. The Welsh Government response acknowledges this, and an updated version of the explanatory memorandum was laid this afternoon.
Okay, any comments, observations? I think it's important to note that the Government is responding to the points that we are raising, and those corrections are being made where they can be.
Moving on to item 5, then, a letter from the Counsel General on publication of Writing Laws for Wales. We have the letter of 7 November 2019, which Members have. So, it's just to be noted, unless there are any comments.
If not, we move on to item 5.2, the letter from the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd on UK regulations relating to the European Union. And, of course, we have the letter of 11 November—the letter from the Minister—and we're responding in the letter to Minister on 18 October. This concerns the UK regulations relating to exiting the EU and responds to the points raised by the committee. Are there any issues on this? If not—. We can always take them up in private session. No, nothing else to note on that.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
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.
In which case, then, item 6. I move under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting. Is that moved? Supported. Okay, so we move into private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:36.
The public part of the meeting ended at 14:36.