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Welsh Language Measure
What is the Welsh Language Measure?
- ensures official status for the Welsh Language in Wales
- establishes the role of the Welsh Language Commissioner
- creates a procedure for introducing duties in the form of Welsh Language Standards
- establishes the Welsh Language Tribunal
- abolishes the Welsh Language Board
The Tribunal and its Powers
What does the Welsh Language Tribunal for Wales do?
The Welsh Language Tribunal is an independent Tribunal. Our function is to deal with appeals against a decision by the Welsh Language Commissioner, in relation to Welsh Language Standards.
What powers does the Tribunal have?
The Measure provides for the Tribunal to conduct hearings on the following matters:
- Appeals against the Commissioner’s determinations in relation to the imposition of Welsh Language Standards.
- Appeals against the Commissioner’s determinations that someone has failed to comply with a requirement of one of the Welsh Language Standards.
- Appeals against the Commissioner’s enforcement actions.
- Appeals by a complainant against the Commissioner’s determination that a person has not failed to comply with a Standard.
- Reviews of the Commissioner’s determinations not to investigate a complaint (or to discontinue an investigation).
Normally, the only power which the Tribunal has is to affirm or annul the Commissioner’s decision. But in the case of an appeal under section 95(4) of the Measure, the Tribunal may vary the enforcement action.
How does the Tribunal reach its decision?
The Tribunal will make its decision by considering all the evidence. This includes the documents all parties send before the hearing and also what is said at the hearing. Decisions made by the Welsh Language Tribunal are available to view in the Decisions section.
Making an application
How do I make an application to the Tribunal?
To make an application or appeal you should complete and send the Notice of Application form to the Tribunal. Applications will be accepted by e-mail, hard copy by post or hand delivered. The application form can be downloaded from this website, or please contact the Tribunal’s office if you would like us to send you an application form.
What if I have any additional needs?
Please make sure that you give details of any additional needs - for example, you should say if you need a signer or a sign language interpreter at the hearing, or need any additional arrangements for the hearing. You should do this when sending us your notice of application.
Can the Tribunal provide advice?
The Tribunal is an independent judicial body and must therefore remain impartial when dealing with disputes. The Tribunal secretariat can provide information about Tribunal procedures, but cannot provide legal advice or guidance about how to word your Notice of Application.
Is there a deadline for making an application?
Normally, your Notice of Application must be received within the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the Commissioner gave written notice of the decision which you are challenging. But the Tribunal has the power to extend that period in accordance with the Tribunal Rules (Rule 14).
Do I have to pay a fee to make an application?
There is no fee payable to make an application to the Tribunal.
I would like to be joined as a party to an application. What do I have to do?
Rule 35 of the Tribunal Rules allows a person to make an application to be joined as a party to a case. If the Tribunal agrees to the application, that person becomes a party to the case, like the Commissioner and the applicant and will be able (for example) to present evidence to the Tribunal.
There is no need to use any particular form in order to apply. A letter to the Tribunal asking to be joined as a party to the case in question will be enough. But in order to decide on your application, the Tribunal will need to consider the relevant circumstances. In order to reduce any delay, your letter should, therefore, explain the nature of your interest in the case and should outline any evidence or arguments which you would like to present to the Tribunal before it comes to its final decision on the case.
Will I be able to claim the costs of bringing the case if my appeal is successful? And will I be liable to pay the costs of other parties if my appeal is unsuccessful?
Only in exceptional circumstances can the Tribunal, in accordance with Rule 55 of the Tribunal Rules, make an order for costs and expenses
What happens if I wish to withdraw my application?
As long as you are the applicant, you can withdraw your application at any stage. You should notify the Tribunal in writing and copy your letter to all other parties involved in the application.
What happens once the Tribunal receives a Notice of Application?
A copy of the application and all documents received with the application will be sent to the Welsh Language Commissioner, who is the respondent to every appeal application. The Commissioner (and any other party to the case) will have the chance to respond. Once all the evidence has been received, the Tribunal, after consulting the parties, will arrange for the case to be heard.
Who has a copy of the evidence submitted for an appeal or application?
All parties to the application must have a copy of each others evidence. Evidence includes the appeal or Notice of Application form as well as all correspondence, papers, documentation submitted to the Tribunal by the person making the appeal, by the Welsh Language Commissioner as the respondent, and by any other party to the case. The Tribunal panel will also have copies of all evidence received by the Tribunal in order to be able to consider the case.
How long does it take from when the Tribunal receives an application to when it issues a decision?
The timescale will vary depending on the type of case but the Tribunal always endeavours to deal promptly with applications and to keep you informed of progress.
What do the terms used by the Tribunal mean?
Go to the Glossary of Terms page.
What information does the Tribunal publish?
Go to the Publications Register page.
What happens at a Tribunal hearing?
The Tribunal will explain the procedure at the start of the hearing. Both parties will be given the opportunity to put their case to the Tribunal and to ask questions. The Tribunal members will also ask questions to help them reach a decision. Further guidance on Tribunal procedures is available from the Guidance and Forms section of this website.
Where will the hearing be held?
Hearings will be held throughout Wales. A list of Tribunal hearings, including details of upcoming Tribunals, is available to view on the Current Cases page. We only use venues that are fully accessible for disabled users. Please let us know if you have any particular needs.
Who will be at the Tribunal hearing?
The appeal or claim will be heard by a group of three Tribunal members. We call these people the Tribunal panel. One person on the panel is legally qualified and will chair the hearing. The other two members will probably be lay members. Tribunal hearings are usually open to the public to attend.
Who can observe?
Anybody who wishes may see the hearing, whether as a member of the public or a representative of the media.
What is a postponement?
The Tribunal may in certain circumstances agree a postponement but the Tribunal will need to be convinced that a postponement is justified.
What is an adjournment?
When a Tribunal is cut short and recommences on a different date.
How does the Tribunal reach its decision?
The Tribunal will make its decision by considering all the evidence. This includes the documents all parties send before the hearing and also what is said at the hearing. Decisions made by the Welsh Language Tribunal are available to view in the Decisions section of this website.
How long does it usually take the Tribunal to issue its decision?
The decision is made after the panel has considered all the evidence. In most cases this will be a few weeks after the hearing but in more complex cases it may take longer.
What if I disagree with the Tribunal’s decision?
You may apply to the Tribunal for a decision of the Tribunal to be reviewed on certain grounds. A party may also, with the permission of the Tribunal or the High Court, appeal to the High Court on a question of law arising out of the decision of the Tribunal.
Further information is available on the Reviewing or appealing against a Tribunal Decision page of this site.