- Wales—bilingual statutory interpretation (R (Driver) v Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Local Government analysis: The Court of Appeal gave guidance to the correct approach when interpreting legislation enacted in both English and Welsh versions. The usual principles of statutory interpretation should apply to both language versions equally. Where the meaning is alleged to differ, it is desirable for the court to have expertise in both languages unless a monolingual court can be confident it can decide the point following argument on the original languages. Expert evidence or translations will be inadequate—the court must engage directly with the language. Substantively, section 50 of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013/Deddf Safonau a Threfniadaeth Ysgolion (Cymru) 2013 (SSO(W)A 2013) requires that only closures of sixth form only schools be approved by the Welsh Ministers, rather than all schools with sixth forms. Further, the local authority had taken account of the need to provide Welsh-language teaching—the weight to give that factor was for the local authority. Written by Adam Heppinstall, barrister, at Henderson Chambers.
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