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Towards a Welsh health law: devolution, divergence and values

Harrington, John ORCID:, Hughes-Moore, Barbara and Thomas, Erin 2021. Towards a Welsh health law: devolution, divergence and values. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 72 (S1)

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COVID-19 and Brexit have given political impetus to re-examine Wales’s place within the United Kingdom’s devolution settlement. Health has been a key site for divergence in law and policy as between the administrations in Cardiff and London. In light of these contests, and the longer-running trends in devolution, this article considers whether a distinct ‘Welsh’ health law has now emerged. We examine the constitutional context and the range of sources for this new legal field. We argue that a set of values can be identified through an attentive reading of the legislative output of the Welsh Parliament, through reflection on the policy development of health in Wales, through the devolution process. While accepting that these are varied and heterogeneous, these values are as much an expression of universal ethical goals as they are of any delineable Welsh essence. No mere summation of positive law, these values allow one to define a distinctive realm of Welsh health law, have the potential to act as an interpretative lens for analysing law and policy flowing from Westminster, and could potentially act as a value structure for further Welsh legislation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Publisher: Queen's University Belfast, School of Law
ISSN: 0029-3105
Funders: Welsh Government Sêr Cymru
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 13 September 2021
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 05:36

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