Guide to the Legislative Process
The Government of Wales Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”) provides a mechanism for the Assembly to acquire, on a case-by-case basis, more powers to make its own laws. The ability of the Assembly to make these laws is known as its “legislative competence”. In the Government of Wales Act, the legislative competence of the Assembly is defined by reference to “fields” and “matters”:
- A “field” is a broad subject area, e.g. highways and transport, housing;
- A “matter” is a specific defined policy area within a field.
In the areas in which it has legislative competence, the Assembly can make its own laws, known as “Measures”. A Measure will have similar effect to an Act of Parliament. The fields and matters are listed in Schedule 5 to the 2006 Act.
Within each field, specific matters will be listed which give the Assembly the power to make Measures within the policy area defined by the matter.
Schedule 5 may be amended to add more matters within fields, thereby extending the legislative competence of the Assembly and providing more policy areas in which it is possible to make Measures. Schedule 5 may be amended by either:
- A new Act of Parliament; or
- A Legislative Competence Order (LCO) (subject to approval by both the Assembly and the UK Parliament).