Published 01/09/2020   |   Last Updated 09/09/2021   |   Reading Time minutes

Reserved Powers Model

The Wales Act 2017 provided a new devolution settlement for Wales, with the Conferred Powers Model replaced with a Reserved Powers Model. The Reserved Powers Model allows the Senedd to make laws on matters that are not reserved to the UK Parliament.

There are a number of legal tests that must be passed under the Reserved Powers Model, for example, Acts of the Senedd must not relate to any reserved matter set out in the new Schedule 7A (such as modern slavery, electricity, road and rail transport, medicines).

Also, Senedd Acts must not breach any of the restrictions set out in new Schedule 7B. 

Schedule 7A - Reserved Matters

The following subject headings are listed in the new Schedule 7A which contains all of the matters that are reserved to the UK Parliament.

Part 1 – General Reservations

  • The Constitution
  • Public service
  • Political parties
  • Single legal jurisdiction of England and Wales
  • Tribunals
  • Foreign affairs etc.
  • Defence

Part 2 – Specific Reservations

Head A – Financial and Economic Matters

Section A1 – Fiscal, economic and monetary policy

Section A2 – The currency

Section A3 – Financial services

Section A4 – Financial markets

Section A5 – Dormant accounts

Head B – Home Affairs

Section B1 – Elections

Section B2 – Nationality and immigration

Section B3 – National security and official secrets

Section B4 – Interception of communications, communications data and surveillance

Section B5 – Crime, public order and policing

Section B6 – Anti-social behaviour

Section B7 – Modern slavery

Section B8 – Prostitution

Section B9 – Emergency powers

Section B10 – Extradition

Section B11 – Rehabilitation of offenders

Section B12 – Criminal records

Section B13 – Dangerous items

Section B14 – Misuse of and dealing in drugs or psychoactive substances

Section B15 – Private security

Section B16 – Entertainment and late night refreshment

Section B17 – Alcohol

Section B18 – Betting, gaming and lotteries

Section B19 – Hunting

Section B20 – Scientific and educational procedures on live animals

Section B21 – Lieutenancies

Section B22 – Charities and fund-raising

Head C – Trade and Industry

Section C1 – Business associations and business names

Section C2 – Insolvency and winding up

Section C3 – Competition

Section C4 – Intellectual property

Section C5 – Import and export control

Section C6 – Consumer protection

Section C7 – Product standards, safety and liability

Section C8 – Weights and measures

Section C9 – Telecommunications and wireless telegraphy

Section C10 – Post

Section C11 – Research Councils

Section C12 – Industrial development

Section C13 – Protection of trading and economic interests

Section C14 – Assistance in connection with exports of goods and services

Section C15 – Water and sewerage

Section C16 – Pubs Code Adjudicator and the Pubs Code

Section C17 – Sunday trading

Head D – Energy

Section D1 – Electricity

Section D2 – Oil and gas

Section D3 – Coal

Section D4 – Nuclear energy

Section D5 – Heat and cooling

Section D6 – Energy conservation

Head E – Transport

Section E1 – Road transport

Section E2 – Rail transport

Section E3 – Marine and waterway transport etc.

Section E4 – Air transport

Section E5 – Transport security

Section E6 – Other matters

Head F – Social Security, Child Support, pensions and Compensation

Section F1 – Social security schemes

Section F2 – Child Support

Section F3 – Occupational and Personal Pensions

Section F4 – Public sector compensation

Section F5 – Armed forces compensation etc.

Head G – Professions

Section G1 – Architects, auditors, health professionals and veterinary surgeons

Head H – Employment

Section H1 – Employment and industrial relations

Section H2 – Industrial training boards

Section H3 – Job search and support

Head J – Health, Safety and Medicines

Section J1 – Abortion

Section J2 – Xenotransplantation

Section J3 – Embryology, surrogacy and genetics

Section J4 – Medicines, medical supplies, biological substances etc.

Section J5 – Welfare foods

Section J6 – Health and safety

Head K – Media, Culture and Sport

Section K1 – Media

Section K2 – Public lending right

Section K3 – Government Indemnity Scheme

Section K4 – Property accepted in satisfaction of tax

Section K5 – Sports grounds

Head L – Justice

Section L1 – The legal profession, legal services and claims management services

Section L2 – Legal aid

Section L3 – Coroners

Section L4 – Arbitration

Section L5 – Mental capacity

Section L6 – Personal data

Section L7 – Information rights

Section L8 – Public sector information

Section L9 – Public records

Section L10 – Compensation for persons affected by crime and miscarriages of justice

Section L11 – Prisons and offender management

Section L12 – Family relationships and children

Section L13 – Gender recognition

Section L14 – Registration of births, deaths and places of worship

Head M – Land and Agricultural Assets

Section M1 – Registration of land

Section M2 – Registration of agricultural charges and debentures

Section M3 – Development and buildings

Head N – Miscellaneous

Section N1 – Equal opportunities

Section N2 – Control of weapons

Section N3 – Ordnance Survey

Section N4 – Time

Section N5 – Outer space

Section N6 – Antarctica

Section N7 – Deep sea bed mining


Schedule 7B: Restrictions

Schedule 7B sets out certain restrictions on the Senedd’s powers. For example, Acts of the Senedd:

  • must not generally modify the law on reserved matters;
  • must not modify private law (such as contract, tort, property) unless it is for a devolved purpose,
  • must not modify certain criminal offences (such as serious offences against the person and any sexual offences) and must not modify certain rules around criminal law (such as the age a person can commit a criminal offence and the meaning of dishonesty);
  • must not modify certain enactments such as the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004;
  • must not modify any of the 2006 Act unless an exception applies;
  • must not confer or impose functions on reserved authorities (such as Ministers of the Crown, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Health & Safety Executive) without the consent of the UK Government.