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  1. Challenges facing the teaching of law through the medium of Welsh Dr Catrin Fflur Huws Prifysgol Cymru Aberystwyth University of Wales Aberystwyth

  2. 1. The exclusion of the Welsh Language from the Law • Act of Union 1536 “Also be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all Justices, Commissioners, Sheriffs, Coroners, Escheators, Stewards and their Lieutenants, and all other Officers and Ministers of the Law, shall proclaim and keep the Sessions Courts, Hundreds, Leets, Sheriffs Courts and all other Courts in the English Tongue and all Oaths of Officers, Juries and Inquests, and all other Affidavits, Verdicts and Wagers of Law to be given and done in the English Tongue; and also that from henceforth no Person or Persons that use the Welsh Speech or Language shall have or enjoy any Manner, Office or Fees within this Realm of England, Wales or other the King's Dominion, upon Pain of forfeiting the Same Offices or Fees unless he or they use and exercise the English Speech or Language.”

  3. 1. The exclusion of the Welsh Language from the Education System • Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry on the State of Education in Wales. 1848

  4. 2. Twentieth Century Resurgence - Law • Right to speak Welsh in Courts of Law • Welsh Courts Act 1942 • Welsh Language Act 1967 • Welsh Language Act 1993

  5. 2. Twentieth Century Resurgence - Education • Flourishing of Welsh medium primary and secondary schools since the first primary school opened in Aberystwyth in 1939. • Education Reform Act 1988 made Welsh a Core subject on the National Curriculum and must therefore be taught as a subject to all schoolchildren up to the age of 16.

  6. 2. Twentieth Century Resurgence - Government • National Assembly for Wales • Must enact all legislation bilingually • Likely to lead to a situation where one version of the legislation must be enacted bilingually

  7. 3. Current situation • Law • Welsh used in courts across Wales on a regular basis • Court users requesting wills, contracts, conveyancing etc to be conducted in Welsh • Education • Children receiving education in Welsh up to the age of 18, and there is therefore an effort being made by the federal Universities of Wales and the National Assembly for Wales to continue this into higher education

  8. 4. Challenges - resources • Lack of resources in the form of legislation • Lack of resources in the form of case precedents • Lack of resources in the form of textbooks • Lack of terminology • Mixed language teaching – lectures in English while seminars are in Welsh • Need for staff to be able to teach bilingually across wide range of subjects

  9. 4. Challenges - attitudes • Viewing learning through Welsh as a disadvantage if one wishes to practise law in England/elsewhere • Perceived to be more difficult, something that is compounded by the lack of resources • Lack of confidence to complete assignments through the medium of Welsh • Historical perception that English is the natural language of the law • Perception that Welsh is not often used even within the law in Wales

  10. 5. Responses • Welsh is used increasingly in the courts • National Assembly requires lawyers and linguists • National Assembly likely to have wider range of legislative powers • Education is bilingual not monolingual Welsh • Law is easier not more difficult in Welsh