A NEW network to champion the rights of Welsh speakers caught up in the legal system in Wrexham and Flintshire has been set up.
The Justice Wales Network was launched at the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff yesterday (Wednesday).
Chairman Hywel Hughes said: “The justice sector is such an important sector in terms of human rights and establishing the network gives us an opportunity to make a real difference by working together.”
The all-Wales network will comprise of all the agencies involved in the justice sector, from both the criminal and civil jurisdictions.
Its creation was one of the recommendations of a major study conducted by language experts commissioned by the North Wales Criminal Justice Board.
According to the consultants from Cwmni Iaith, access to the Welsh language in the criminal justice system was “patchy” in North Wales.
Mr Hughes added: “It shows also there is a real commitment and a desire to support bilingualism.
“Actually, North Wales has been leading the way. North Wales Police in particular has done pioneering work over recent years and the courts service also invested significant amounts in improving provision.
“With the Justice Wales Network, we are hoping this good work will be expanded consistently through all the justice sector agencies in North Wales and the rest of Wales.
“We will be tackling all the issues raised by the Cwmni Iaith report and build on the good work of the Lord Chancellor’s Welsh Language Training Sub-Committee under the chairmanship of Judge Philip Richards, which has recently published a training protocol for justice agencies in Wales.
“There is no point for organisations like the police and so on to move forwards if the rest of the system doesn’t come with them. It’s a symbiotic process and we all depend on each other.”