Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs
The Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs was launched in January 1999 to consolidate, and provide a focus for, the Law School's expertise and work on the law as it applies within Wales and on general legal developments of relevance to Wales. A key aim of the Centre is to explore whether there is a distinct Welsh perspective on general legal questions within the common legal system of England and Wales and to ensure that Welsh legal developments are placed in the wider context of developments at the UK, European and International levels. Devolution is not just a question affecting Wales: it is a live issue in Scotland, Northern Ireland, London, the English regions and in many other parts of Europe. The Centre collaborates with other institutions throughout the UK and elsewhere to consider legal developments within other devolved jurisdictions on a comparative basis.
The establishment of the Centre was prompted by devolution, the setting up of the National Assembly for Wales and the emergence of a more distinct Welsh legal order. Work on the operation of devolution currently forms a large part of the Centre's activities, both as regards the public law side concerning the structures and operations of the Assembly itself and the substantive law and policy developed by the Assembly. However, the work goes wider than the process and operation of devolution: other relevant projects being carried out by members of the Centre include work on human rights, freedom of information, the Welsh language, and criminal justice in a Welsh context. Examining these issues with regard to Wales on a comparative basis enhances our understanding of the general areas and broadens rather than narrows our perspective on them.