Speech by the Lord Chief Justice: Legal Wales Conference

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The Lord Chief Justice

Lord Chief Justice

1. When in February and early March it became clear that COVID-19 was likely to be a real menace none of us, I suspect, thought that it would continue to be turning life upside down eight months later or that, even now, there would be no end in sight to its disruptive effect.  There has been nothing like it in any of our lifetimes, so forgive me if I touch in a few moments on the predicable but important subject of its impact on the administration of justice.

2. I am disappointed not to be in Wales where I have always enjoyed the warm welcome from the whole legal community.  As I record this clip, we are at the end of a dismal and disruptive few days of gales and rain which puts me in mind of my visit to Aberystwyth, Llandudno and Bangor two years ago.   By the time this is seen on Friday I hope that the gales and rain have abated and the sun is peeking through the clouds.

3. Legal Wales has proved to be a valuable opportunity for collective thinking about the law in Wales.  It provides the opportunity for the judiciary of Wales to have its annual gathering and it brings so many people together.  Let’s look forward to next year when we might be able to meet again in the usual way.  In the meantime, I plan to be in Cardiff before Christmas with a Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal.  Our challenge, as ever, will be to find sufficient Welsh cases.  Our judges in the Crown Court generate very few appeals.