The Attorney General for England and Wales referred the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Bill to the Supreme Court after the UK Government questioned its legality.
Her Majesty the Queen has now approved the Bill after the Supreme Court last week ruled, in a unanimous judgment, that the Bill does not exceed the powers of the National Assembly for Wales. The Bill now becomes the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Act 2012.
The then Bill was the first to be passed by AMs since the National Assembly gained direct law-making powers following the Welsh referendum held on 3 March 2011.
The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones – in his role as Keeper of the Welsh Seal - today (Thursday 29 November) sealed the Letters Patent, which were signed with Her Majesty’s own hand to signify Her Assent, in a ceremony at the Welsh Government’s headquarters in Cathays Park, Cardiff.
Carwyn Jones said:
“We are now making laws in Wales, for the people of Wales. The approval of this Bill by Her Majesty is yet another important milestone for devolution in Wales. This Bill is historic, in that it is the first introduced under our new powers, and the first to be referred to the Supreme Court.
“We were always confident the Supreme Court would rule in our favour – and their unanimous judgment shows we were right to conclude the Bill was indeed lawful."
The Act will empower local authorities in Wales to take ownership of local laws by simplifying and localising procedures for making, confirming and enforcing local authority byelaws; in doing so it removes the function of the Welsh Ministers and the Secretary of State to confirm certain byelaws.
The aim, in addition, is to reduce the bureaucracy and length of time it currently takes to make and confirm byelaws - partly due to the requirement for confirmation by the Welsh Ministers.
Minister for Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant said:
“The Welsh Government is committed to making byelaw procedures less bureaucratic so that all effort and resources can be directed to improving the day to day lives of the people of Wales.
“By empowering local authorities to take full responsibility for their local laws and providing them with the option to make enforcement more effective, we will help them to improve the quality of their services to their communities."