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Government of Wales Bill


Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

24

 

or, where the person has given an address for service of the notice, at

that address, or

(b)   

in any other case, by so sending it addressed to the person at the

person’s registered or principal office.

(4)   

A notice is sent in accordance with this subsection if it is sent—

5

(a)   

by a registered post service (within the meaning of the Postal Services

Act 2000 (c. 26)), or

(b)   

by a postal service which provides for its delivery by post to be

recorded.

(5)   

If a direction is issued under subsection (6) of section 37 in relation to a

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requirement imposed under subsection (1) of that section, the person or

persons by whom it is issued must give notice in writing that the direction has

been issued—

(a)   

if the requirement was imposed for the purposes of the Assembly, to

the Presiding Officer, and

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(b)   

otherwise, to the person who chairs the committee or sub-committee

for the purposes of which it was imposed.

39      

Offences

(1)   

A person to whom a notice under section 38(1) has been given commits an

offence if the person—

20

(a)   

refuses or fails without reasonable excuse to attend proceedings as

required by the notice,

(b)   

refuses or fails without reasonable excuse, when attending proceedings

as required by the notice, to answer any question concerning the

subjects specified in the notice,

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(c)   

refuses or fails without reasonable excuse to produce any document

required to be produced by the notice, or

(d)   

intentionally alters, suppresses, conceals or destroys any such

document.

(2)   

Subsection (1) is subject to sections 34(3) and 37(5), (6), (8) and (9).

30

(3)   

If a person charged with an offence under subsection (1)(a), (b) or (c) adduces

evidence of a reasonable excuse for the refusal or failure, it is for the

prosecution to prove that the person did not have such an excuse.

(4)   

A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary

conviction—

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(a)   

to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale,

(b)   

to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks, or

(c)   

to both.

(5)   

Where an offence under subsection (1) which has been committed by a body

corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of,

40

or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of—

(a)   

a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body

corporate, or

(b)   

any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity,

   

that person, as well as the body corporate, is guilty of that offence and liable to

45

be proceeded against accordingly.

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

25

 

(6)   

In subsection (5) “director”, in the case of a body corporate whose affairs are

managed by its members, means a member of the body corporate.

40      

General

(1)   

The Presiding Officer or such other person as may be authorised by the

standing orders may—

5

(a)   

require any person giving evidence in Assembly proceedings to take an

oath (or make an affirmation), and

(b)   

administer the oath (or affirmation) to the person.

(2)   

A person commits an offence if the person—

(a)   

is required to attend Assembly proceedings for the purpose of giving

10

evidence by a notice under section 38(1), and

(b)   

refuses to take an oath (or make an affirmation) when required to do so

for the purposes of the Assembly proceedings.

(3)   

A person guilty of an offence under subsection (2) is liable on summary

conviction—

15

(a)   

to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale,

(b)   

to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks, or

(c)   

to both.

(4)   

The standing orders may provide for the payment of allowances and expenses

to persons—

20

(a)   

attending Assembly proceedings for the purpose of giving evidence, or

(b)   

producing for the purposes of the Assembly (or a committee of the

Assembly or a sub-committee of such a committee) documents which

they have been required or requested to produce,

   

whether or not in pursuance of a notice under section 38(1).

25

(5)   

The provision made by virtue of subsection (4) may confer functions on the

Assembly Commission.

(6)   

For the purposes of sections 37 to 39 and this section—

(a)   

a person is to be taken to comply with a requirement to produce a

document if the person produces a copy of the document or an extract

30

of the relevant part of the document,

(b)   

“document” means anything in which information is recorded in any

form, and

(c)   

references to producing a document are to producing the information

recorded in it in a visible and legible form.

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Legal issues

41      

Proceedings by or against Assembly etc.

(1)   

Proceedings by or against the Assembly are to be instituted by or against the

Assembly Commission on behalf of the Assembly.

(2)   

Proceedings by or against—

40

(a)   

the Presiding Officer or Deputy Presiding Officer, or

(b)   

a member of the staff of the Assembly,

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

26

 

   

are (unless instituted against or by the Assembly Commission) to be instituted

by or against the Assembly Commission on behalf of the Presiding Officer,

Deputy Presiding Officer or member of staff.

(3)   

In any proceedings against the Assembly the court must not grant a

mandatory, prohibiting or quashing order or an injunction, make an order for

5

specific performance or stay the proceedings but may instead make a

declaration.

(4)   

In any proceedings against—

(a)   

any Assembly member,

(b)   

the Presiding Officer or Deputy Presiding Officer,

10

(c)   

any member of the staff of the Assembly, or

(d)   

the Assembly Commission,

   

the court must not grant a mandatory, prohibiting or quashing order or an

injunction, make an order for specific performance or stay the proceedings if

the effect of doing so would be to give any relief against the Assembly which

15

could not have been given in proceedings against the Assembly.

(5)   

References in this section to an order include an order which is not final.

42      

Defamation

(1)   

For the purposes of the law of defamation—

(a)   

any statement made in Assembly proceedings, and

20

(b)   

the publication under the authority of the Assembly of any statement,

   

is absolutely privileged.

(2)   

The Welsh Ministers may by regulations make provision for and in connection

with establishing in any legal proceedings that any statement or publication is

absolutely privileged by virtue of subsection (1).

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(3)   

No regulations are to be made under subsection (2) unless a draft of the

statutory instrument containing them has been laid before, and approved by a

resolution of, the Assembly.

(4)   

In this section “statement” has the same meaning as in the Defamation Act 1996

(c. 31).

30

43      

Contempt of court

(1)   

The strict liability rule does not apply in relation to any publication—

(a)   

made in, for the purposes of, or for purposes incidental to, Assembly

proceedings, or

(b)   

to the extent that it consists of a report of Assembly proceedings which

35

either is made by or under the authority of the Assembly or is fair and

accurate and made in good faith.

(2)   

In subsection (1)—

“the strict liability rule”, and

“publication”,

40

   

have the same meaning as in the Contempt of Court Act 1981 (c. 49).

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 2 — Welsh Assembly Government

27

 

44      

Corrupt practices

The Assembly and the Assembly Commission are public bodies for the

purposes of the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 1916.

Part 2

Welsh Assembly Government

5

Government

45      

Welsh Assembly Government

(1)   

There is to be a Welsh Assembly Government, or Llywodraeth Cynulliad

Cymru, whose members are—

(a)   

the First Minister or Prif Weinidog (see sections 46 and 47),

10

(b)   

the Welsh Ministers, or Gweinidogion Cymru, appointed under section

48,

(c)   

the Counsel General to the Welsh Assembly Government or Cwnsler

Cyffredinol i Lywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru (see section 49) (referred to

in this Act as “the Counsel General”), and

15

(d)   

the Deputy Welsh Ministers or Dirprwy Weinidogion Cymru (see

section 50).

(2)   

In this Act and in any other enactment or instrument the First Minister and the

Welsh Ministers appointed under section 48 are referred to collectively as the

Welsh Ministers.

20

Ministers, staff etc.

46      

The First Minister

(1)   

The First Minister is to be appointed by Her Majesty after nomination in

accordance with section 47.

(2)   

The First Minister holds office at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

25

(3)   

The First Minister may at any time tender resignation to Her Majesty and

ceases to hold office as First Minister when it is accepted.

(4)   

A person ceases to hold office as the First Minister if another person is

appointed to that office.

(5)   

The functions of the First Minister are exercisable by a person designated by

30

the Presiding Officer if—

(a)   

the office of the First Minister is vacant,

(b)   

the First Minister is for any reason unable to act, or

(c)   

the First Minister has ceased to be an Assembly member.

(6)   

A person may not be designated to exercise the functions of the First Minister

35

unless the person is—

(a)   

an Assembly member, or

(b)   

if the Assembly has been dissolved, a person who ceased to be an

Assembly member by reason of the dissolution.

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 2 — Welsh Assembly Government

28

 

(7)   

A person may be designated to exercise the functions of the First Minister only

on the recommendation of the Welsh Ministers (unless there is no-one holding

office as a Welsh Minister appointed under section 48).

(8)   

If a person is designated to exercise the functions of the First Minister, the

designation continues to have effect even if the Assembly is dissolved.

5

47      

Choice of First Minister

(1)   

If one of the following events occurs, the Assembly must, before the end of the

relevant period, nominate an Assembly member for appointment as First

Minister.

(2)   

The events are—

10

(a)   

the holding of a poll at a general election,

(b)   

the Assembly resolving that the Welsh Ministers no longer enjoy the

confidence of the Assembly,

(c)   

the First Minister tendering resignation to Her Majesty,

(d)   

the First Minister dying or becoming permanently unable to act and to

15

tender resignation, and

(e)   

the First Minister ceasing to be an Assembly member otherwise than by

reason of a dissolution.

(3)   

The relevant period is the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which

the event occurs; but—

20

(a)   

if another of those events occurs within that period, the relevant period

is (subject to paragraph (b)) extended to end with the period of 28 days

beginning with the day on which that other event occurs, and

(b)   

the relevant period ends if the Assembly passes a resolution under

section 5(2)(a) or when Her Majesty appoints a person as the First

25

Minister.

(4)   

The Presiding Officer must recommend to Her Majesty the appointment of the

person nominated by the Assembly under subsection (1).

48      

Welsh Ministers

(1)   

The First Minister may, with the approval of Her Majesty, appoint Welsh

30

Ministers from among the Assembly members.

(2)   

A Welsh Minister appointed under this section holds office at Her Majesty’s

pleasure.

(3)   

A Welsh Minister appointed under this section may be removed from office by

the First Minister.

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(4)   

A Welsh Minister appointed under this section may at any time resign.

(5)   

A Welsh Minister appointed under this section must resign if the Assembly

resolves that the Welsh Ministers no longer enjoy the confidence of the

Assembly.

(6)   

A Welsh Minister appointed under this section who resigns ceases to hold

40

office immediately.

(7)   

A Welsh Minister appointed under this section ceases to hold office on ceasing

to be an Assembly member otherwise than by reason of a dissolution.

 
 

 
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Revised 30 June 2006