§ 27. Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps are being taken to promote the use of the Welsh language in civil and criminal courts in Wales.
Mr. John M. Taylor
Section 1 of the Welsh Language Act 1967 makes provision for the Welsh language to be spoken in any legal proceedings in Wales. My Department is committed to providing a responsive service to Welsh-speaking members of the community and is shortly to issue a policy statement that will set out the way in which that will be achieved.
§ Mr. Jones
Will the Bill contain a provision for hearings to be conducted through the medium of the Welsh language, either by defendants in criminal trials or by litigants in civil trials? If so, will sufficient resources be allocated to enable court staff to be trained in the use of Welsh in courts?
The Welsh Language Act 1967 and the Welsh Courts Act 1942 provide Welsh speakers with safeguards. I do not think that I should comment on legislation that has not yet been introduced in the House, but the hon. Gentleman will at least concede this much to me: although I am an Englishman, I spent four years as the Government's Welsh Whip, and I always wish to be helpful in regard to Welsh affairs.