The gradual devolution of executive powers from Westminster to Cardiff Bay has existed since the late 1990's, but proposals for the decentralisation of judicial authority has never fully come to fruition.
That may soon change. The Civil Procedure Rules Committee (CPRC) have established a subcommittee to address the development of a separate legal jurisdiction. The extent of any move may only stretch to a distinction in Practice Directions, but it is envisaged that judicial matters of a devolved concern would benefit from a narrower domestic resolve.
The Welsh Government very explicitly canvassed opinion from leading practitioners and academics by way of a consultation paper in March 2012, entitled ‘Separate Legal Jurisdiction for Wales’. The final report was produced in December 2013, but was rather non-committal. However, the ‘separate jurisdiction’ debate inevitably continues to the extent that a distinct body of Welsh law is being developed. Furthermore, tensions between Cardiff Bay and Westminster have been exacerbated since the emergence of a Conservative-led (now Conservative majority) government in 2010, relating to the scope of legislative competence. Fresh off the heels of success before the Supreme Court, this war of attrition is perhaps igniting a degree of creativity from legislators in the Assembly.