Welsh lawyers in Welsh language drive

Wales’ Magistrates’ Courts are set to encourage parties to use the Welsh language in legal proceedings.

A new protocol has been launched to ensure that all court users know that it is their right to use the Welsh language in court.

Judge Eleri Rees, the chair of the working group, said that all parties and witnesses in hearings should not only be aware of their right to use Welsh but should be positively encouraged to do so.

“We hope that the protocol will not only raise awareness but assist magistrates and court staff in implementing best practice in meeting the linguistic needs of court users,” said Rees.

The guidelines have been brought in after a working group spent a year collating information to identify the practicalities of conducting cases in Welsh.

“The protocol is intended to reflect, in practice, the principle of equality for both the Welsh and English languages in our courts, as provided for in the Welsh Language Act 1993.”

The new push in the Magistrates’ Courts comes more than two years after similar protocol was introduced in Wales’ Crown and County Courts.