England and Wales

Welsh: Lloegr a Chymru
England and Wales
England and Wales within the UK and Europe.svg
LocationWithin the UK
Administrative centerLondon
TypeLegal jurisdiction
MembershipPart of a constitutional monarchy
Establishment
43 AD
1277-1283
1535-1542
Area
• 
151,149 km2 (58,359 sq mi)
Population
• 2011 estimate
56.07 million
CurrencyPound Sterling
(GBP; £)
Time zoneWET

England and Wales (Welsh: Cymru a Lloegr) is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four nations of the United Kingdom. "England and Wales" forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law.

The devolved National Assembly for Wales (Welsh: Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) was created in 1999 by the Parliament of the United Kingdom under the Government of Wales Act 1998 and provides a degree of self-government in Wales. The powers of the Assembly were expanded by the Government of Wales Act 2006, which allows it to pass its own laws, and the Act also formally separated the Welsh Government from the Assembly. There is no equivalent body for England, which is directly governed by the Parliament and the government of the United Kingdom.

History of jurisdiction

The Roman province of Britannia in 410

During the Roman occupation of Britain, the area of present-day England and Wales was administered as a single unit, with the exception of the land to the north of Hadrian's Wall - though the Roman-occupied area varied in extent, and for a time extended to the Antonine/Severan Wall. At that time, most of the native inhabitants of Roman Britain spoke Brythonic languages, and were all regarded as Britons, divided into numerous tribes. After the conquest, the Romans administered this region as a single unit, the province of Britain.

Long after the departure of the Romans, the Britons in what became Wales developed their own system of law, first codified by Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good; reigned 942–950) when he was king of most of present-day Wales; in England Anglo-Saxon law was initially codified by Alfred the Great in his Legal Code, c. 893. However, after the Norman invasion of Wales in the 11th century, English law came to apply in the parts of Wales conquered by the Normans (the Welsh Marches). In 1283, the English, led by Edward I, with the biggest army brought together in England since the 11th century, conquered the remainder of Wales, then organised as the Principality of Wales. This was then united with the English crown by the Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284. This aimed to replace Welsh criminal law with English law.

Welsh law continued to be used for civil cases until the annexation of Wales to England in the 16th century. The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 then consolidated the administration of all the Welsh territories and incorporated them fully into the legal system of the Kingdom of England.[1]

Prior to 1746 it was not clear whether a reference to "England" in legislation included Wales, and so in 1746 Parliament passed the Wales and Berwick Act. This specified that in all prior and future laws, references to "England" would by default include Wales (and Berwick). The Wales and Berwick Act was repealed in 1967, although the statutory definition of "England" it created by that Act still applies for laws passed before 1967. In new legislation since 1967, what was referred to as "England" is now "England and Wales", while references to "England" and "Wales" refer to those political divisions.[citation needed]