Principal Appointed Day
Wales Act 2017 changes the competence of the National Assembly for Wales from a ‘conferred powers model’ to a ‘reserved powers model.’
The reserved powers model will become law on the Principal Appointed Day, which is set by the Secretary of State for Wales. It is anticipated that the Principal Appointed Day will be
1 April 2018.
What does that mean for Bills introduced before the Principal Appointed Day?
The Wales Act 2017 provides that if the Assembly has agreed the general principles of a Bill (this takes place at the end of ‘Stage 1’ in the Assembly’s legislative process) before the Principal Appointed Day, the question of whether or not its provisions are within competence are considered under the current, conferred powers model under Schedule 7 of the Government of Wales Act 2006.
If the general principles of a Bill are agreed on or after the Principal Appointed Day, then its provisions are considered under the new, reserved powers model under the Wales Act 2017.
When might decisions be taken on whether a Bill is within the National Assembly for Wales’ competence?
Section 110 of the Government of Wales Act provides that a Bill cannot be introduced unless the Member in charge- which for Welsh Government Bills will be a Minister- states that the Bill would be within competence.
In addition, when a Bill is introduced to the Assembly, the Llywydd (Presiding Officer) has a statutory duty under section 110 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (GoWA) to state whether or not in her view the provisions of the Bill would be within the Assembly’s legislative competence. However, the Llywydd’s view on competence does not affect whether or not a Bill may be introduced.
Following introduction, a Bill will typically be subject to a committee inquiry on its general principles, followed by committee consideration of amendments, before consideration of amendments in a Plenary meeting of the Assembly and a final vote, also in Plenary. There is no formal statutory or procedural requirement for issues around competence to be explored at any stage of scrutiny after introduction, but they may be explored by Assembly Members in the course of scrutiny.
Finally, following the passing of a Bill by the Assembly, there is a period of four weeks (as specified in the Government of Wales Act 2006, Section 112) during which, among other actions that also prevent the Bill from being submitted for Royal Assent, the UK and Welsh Governments’ law officers (the Attorney General and the Counsel General respectively) may refer the Bill to the Supreme Court on a question of competence.
Progress of current Legislation
The text of Assembly Acts and the UK Bills they amend are available on the Legislation.gov.uk website
Previous Assembly Business
Since May 2011, the Assembly's primary legislation has taken the form of Acts. The Assembly's legislative competence was also significantly expanded.
When the Assembly was first formed it's only powers to legislate were through the passing of Statutory Instruments.
When the Assembly was first formed its only powers to legislate were through the passing of Statutory Instruments.