On Monday 9th March 2015, our Commissioning Editor Sarah Lewis attended a workshop on Understanding Administrative Justice in Wales, convened by Sarah Nason as part of Bangor Law School’s research into administrative law and devolution issues. Bangor Law School has recently been awarded a grant from the Welsh Government to bring together policy, practice and research communities looking at the broader area of administrative justice in Wales. Administrative justice is the justice inherent in administrative decision- making: that is, ensuring that decisions made by public bodies are “right the first time”, and where they are not, that there are clear and effective avenues for redress. The event was held at the Millennium Stadium, an ideal venue for pondering the effect and impact of disputed decisions, where the national rugby team of Wales has experienced more than a few.
The aim is to support the Committee on Administrative Justice and Tribunals Wales (CAJTW) and to make a contribution to the work of the newly-established UK Administrative Justice Institute (UKAJI). The current research involves bringing together a diverse audience of policy makers, members of the judiciary, court and tribunal management, local government officials, legal practitioners and other advice providers, and a community of academics both from traditional legal academia and beyond (extending to public administration and governance, social sciences and history).
Whilst what is known as the administrative law of England and Wales is well-developed, there is now a need to develop this vital area in Wales, thanks to the process of devolution and the increasing divergence of Welsh law from that applicable in England. Wales needs to develop its own system to achieve a world-class service suitable for Wales’ particular needs, culture and values. It was fascinating and a privilege to listen to the perspectives of a range of delegates, amongst whom was Professor Thomas Watkin, Series Editor of UWP’s forthcoming Public Law of Wales series, and members of the judiciary, legal profession and voluntary sector. What was clear from all was a desire to achieve the best outcome for the people of Wales.