Principal Appointed Day​

Published 01/08/2020   |   Last Updated 28/02/2024   |   Reading Time minutes

The Wales Act 2017 changed the competence of the Senedd from a ‘conferred powers model’ to a ‘reserved powers model.’

The reserved powers model became law on the Principal Appointed Day, 1 April 2018.

That did th​​at mean for Bills introduced before the Principal Appointed Day?Closeup of Senedd Mace

​The Wales Act 2017 provides that if the Senedd has agreed the general principles of a Bill (this takes place at the end of ‘Stage 1​’ in the Senedd’s legislative process) before the Principal Appointed Day, the question of whether or not its provisions are within competence are considered under the current, conferred powers model under Schedule 7 of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

If the general principles of a Bill are agreed on or after the Principal Appointed Day, then its provisions are considered under the new reserved powers model under the Wales Act 2017.

When might decisions ​be taken on whether a Bill is within the Senedd’s competence?

​Section 110 of the Government of Wales Act provides that a Bill cannot be introduced unless the Member in charge - which for Welsh Gover​​​nment Bills will be a Minister - states that the Bill would be within competence.

In addition, when a Bill is introduced to the Senedd, the Llywydd (Presiding Officer) has a statutory duty under section 110 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (GoWA) to state whether or not in her view the provisions of the Bill would be within the Senedd’s legislative competence. However, the Llywydd’s view on competence does not affect whether or not a Bill may be introduced.

Following introduction, a Bill will typically be subject to a committee inquiry on its general principles, followed by committee consideration of amendments, before consideration of amendments in a Plenary meeting of the Senedd and a final vote, also in Plenary. There is no formal statutory or procedural requirement for issues around competence to be explored at any stage of scrutiny after introduction, but they may be explored by Members of the Senedd in the course of scrutiny.

Finally, following the passing of a Bill by the Senedd, there is a period of four weeks (as specified in the Government of Wales Act 2006, Section 112) during which, among other actions that also prevent the Bill from being submitted for Royal Assent, the UK and Welsh Governments’ law officers (the Attorney General and the Counsel General respectively) may refer the Bill to the Supreme Court on a question of competence.