Cyfraith Cymru ar gael – Welsh Law Made Accessible

Ym Mis Gorffenaf 2015, lansiwyd gwefan newydd Cyfraith Cymru sef gwefan sydd yn cynnig ffynhonell o wybodaeth ar Gyfraith Cymru. Y mae hyn yn cydfynd ag ymgynhoriad gan Gomisiwn y Gyfraith ar ffurf a Hygyrchedd y Gyfraith Sy’n Gymwys yng Nghymru.
Mynegwyd pryderon o sawl cwr – y Cynulliad a’r Llywodraeth, Cyfreithwyr ac Academyddion fod diffyg ymwybyddiaeth a diffyg ffynhonellau cyfredol ar beth yw’r gyfraith yng Nghymru, yn enwedig pan fo’r gyfraith honno yn wahanol i’r Gyfraith sydd yn berthnasol yn Lloegr. Tuedda gwerslyfrau a llyfrau ymarferwyr egluro’r gyfraith yn Lloegr, gydag ond man gyfeiriad at y ffaith fod y gyfraith yng Nghymru yn wahanol. Pryder sylweddol arall yw i’r ffynhonellau sydd yn bodoli sydd yn mynegi beth yw’r gyfraith yng Nghymru ond gofnodi ffurf Saesneg y gyfraith – tra bo’r gyfraith gywir ar gyfer Cymru wedi ei chynnwys yn nwy iaith y ddeddfwriaeth. Amcan y wefan felly yw i sicrhau fod gwybodaeth gyfredol a sylwebaeth ar gyfraith Cymru ar gael i bawb sydd yn dymuno ei gyrchu.

In July 2015 a new Law Wales website was launched. This site aims to be a source of information about the law in Wales, and has been launched to coincide with a Law Commission Consultation on the Form and Accessibility of the Law Applicable in Wales.
Concerns have long been expressed by the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government, as well as Lawyers and Academics that there is a lack of awareness about Welsh Law, and that the law applicable in Wales differs from the law in England. Textbooks and practitioner texts tend to focus on English law, with little reference to the fact that the law in Wales is different. Another concern is that the resources that do exist only provide the English version of the law, whereas the law of Wales is to be found in the two language versions of the legislation. The website therefore aims to provide up to date information and commentary on the current law of Wales in a way that is accessible to everyone who wishes to access it.

Dr Catrin Fflûr Huws

Smoke-free cars from 1 October 2015

On 2 June 2015, the National Assembly for Wales voted to approve The Smoke-free (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015. This legislation, which mirrors provision already in place in England, prohibits smoking in private vehicles when children under the age of 18 are present. An offence is committed by a person who smokes in a private vehicle, and also by a driver who fails to prevent smoking in a private vehicle where children are present, and the punishment is a fixed penalty of £50 for each offence.

A number of interesting issues arise from the regulations. First, although the primary enforcers will be the police – because they have the authority to stop vehicles in situations where they see or suspect that a person is smoking in the presence of a child, the local authorities also have enforcement powers. A further issue arises from the anomaly caused by the fact that a 16 year old may smoke without breaking the law, but a person who is with them in a car commits an offence by smoking in their presence. A further issue that arises is the liability of the driver who allows a 16 year old to smoke in a car. Is the driver then responsible for failing to prevent a person from smoking in a car that contains a minor, even though the 16 year old is entitled to smoke?

The regulations come into force on 1 October 2015.

Dr Catrin Fflûr Huws

2015 a’r iaith Gymraeg – 2015 and the Welsh language

Bydd 2015 yn flwyddyn o newid sylweddol yn y ffordd y caiff cydraddoldeb ar gyfer yr iaith Gymraeg ei weithredu. Penodwyd Keith Bush CF yn llywydd Tribiwnlys y Gymraeg ym mis Gorffennaf 2014, a bu ymgynghoriad ar reolau’r tribiwnlys yn niwedd 2014. Yn yr un cyfnod, bu ymgynghoriad gan Lywodraeth Cymru ar y safonau iaith arfaethedig ar gyfer, Gweinidigion Cymru, Y Parciau Cenedlaethol ac Awdurdodau Lleol. Bydd hyn yn arwain at ddrafftio safonau priodol ar gyfer mathau eraill o sefydliad. Wedi i’r cyfnod ymgynghori ddod i ben a’r safonau wedi eu derbyn, bydd y gweithrediad Mesur yr Iaith Gymraeg (2011) yn dod i rym, lle gall Comisiynydd yr Iaith Gymraeg osod safonau ar sefydliadau unigol a gall unigolyn gwyno am fethiant i gyd-ymffurfio a’r safonau hynny. Golyga hefyd y daw Tribiwnlys y Gymraeg yn weithredol er mwyn galluogi sefydliadau i apelio yn erbyn penderfyniad gan y Comisiynydd fod methiant i gydymffurfio a safonau iaith (Mesur yr Iaith Gymraeg (Cymru) 2011 adran 95), neu i gwyno fod gofynion y Comisiynydd o safbwynt safonau yn afresymol neu yn amghymesurol. Gall unigolyn hefyd apelio yn erbyn penderfyniad gan y Comisiynydd Iaith nad sefydliad wedi gweithredu mewn modd nad yw’n cyrraedd y safon arfaethedig ((Mesur yr Iaith Gymraeg (Cymru) 2011 adran 99). Golyga hyn felly fod y Gymraeg, mewn 80 mlynedd wedi mynd o fod yn iaith nas defnyddiwyd mewn cyd-destun cyfreithiol o gwbl i fod yn iaith a fydd yn destun ymgyfreitha mewn tribiwnlys pwrpasol – cam pwysig ymlaen.

2015 will be an important year with regard to the regulation of Welsh and English language equality. Keith Bush QC was appointed as President of the Welsh Language Tribunal in July 2014. Since then a consultation has been undertaken regarding the rules governing the operation of the Welsh Language Tribunal. During the same period, a consultation was also undertaken by the Welsh Government into the proposed Welsh Language Standards for the Welsh Ministers, Local Authorities and National Parks. This will then lead to the drafting of further standards for other types of organisation and institution. After the consultation period has been completed and the appropriate standards having been approved, the regulatory regime established under the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 will come into effect. This will enable the Welsh Language Commissioner to impose standards on institutions regarding the level of Welsh-medium provision an individual service user is entitled to expect. An individual is entitled to complain if the standards are not complied with. Furthermore, the implementation of the standards-based regime will also mean that the tribunal will become operational. An institution may appeal to the Tribunal if it feels that the Welsh Language Commissioner has wrongly concluded that the Welsh Language Standards have been breached (Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 s95), or if it feels that the Standards that have been imposed upon it are unreasonable or disproportionate. An individual may also appeal against a decision by the Welsh Language Commissioner that there has been no breach of the Welsh Language Standards ((Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 s99). Eighty years ago, the Welsh Language was excluded completely from legal proceedings. In 2015, it will become a language whose status will be scrutinised in its own specific tribunal – this is an important development.

Dr Catrin Fflûr Huws

Croeso i flog cyfraith Cymru! Welcome to Welsh Law Watch!

Croeso i flog cyfraith Cymru y Ganolfan Materion Cyfreithiol Cymreig ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth. Y mae’r tirlun cyfreithiol yng Nghymru yn hynod ddiddorol ar hyn o bryd. Gyda Cymru ar drothwy ei phedwaredd model o ddatganoli mewn 16 mlynedd, mae stôr o gyfraith unigryw Gymreig yn brysur ddatblygu mewn sawl maes – o fyd addysg i wasanaethau cymdeithasol, o warchod yr amgylchedd i rentu tai. Amcan y blog hwn felly yw i’ch diweddaru am yr hyn sydd yn digwydd efo cyfraith Cymru, ac i ddarparu sylwadau ar y cyfreithiau hynny.
Gobeithiaf yn arw y bydd cyfreithwyr, academyddwyr, llunwyr polisi a’r cyhoedd yn ei ganfod yn fuddiol.
Gyda chofion gorau
Catrin Fflur Huws
Cadeurydd y Ganolfan Materion Cyfreithiol Cymreig

Welcome to the Welsh Law Watch blog produced by the Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs at Aberystwyth University. The Welsh legal landscape is an exciting place to be at the present time. With Wales about to embark on its fourth model of devolution in 16 years, a body of distinctive Welsh Law is developing across a range of subject areas – from education to social services, from nature conservation to renting homes. This blog therefore aims to keep you updated on developments in Welsh Law, and to provide a commentary on those laws.
I hope that practitioners, academics, policy-makers and the public alike will find Welsh Law Watch to be a useful resource.
With best wishes
Catrin Fflur Huws
Chairperson, Centre for Welsh Legal Affairs