Agricultural Law in Wales

Current project status

  • Initiation: Could include discussing scope and terms of reference with lead Government Department
  • Pre-consultation: Could include approaching interest groups and specialists, producing scoping and issues papers, finalising terms of project
  • Consultation: Likely to include consultation events and paper, making provisional proposals for comment
  • Policy development: Will include analysis of consultation responses. Could include further issues papers and consultation on draft Bill
  • Reported: Usually recommendations for law reform but can be advice to government, scoping report or other recommendations

Pwyswch yma i ddarllen y fersiwn Cymraeg o’r tudalen

The problem

The law which governs the agricultural sector in Wales is spread across a patchwork of legislation. This makes the law difficult to access and, in places, hard to understand. The Law Commission will be considering, and making recommendations on, how to make the law in this area easier to find and understand.

Agriculture is a devolved area of law in Wales. This means that the power to make legislation governing the agricultural sector in Wales rests with the Welsh Parliament (Senedd Cymru). However, that hasn’t always been the case, and agricultural law in Wales originates from different law-making bodies; namely, the UK Parliament and the Senedd Cymru. In addition, whilst the United Kingdom (UK) was a member of the European Union (EU), the EU had powers to make agricultural legislation which applied to the UK. Following the UK’s exit from the EU, some of that EU agricultural law has been incorporated, or ‘assimilated’, into the national law which applies to Wales.

Consequently, agricultural law in Wales may contain provisions which apply to Wales only, to England only, or to both England and Wales. Some of that legislation dates back almost eighty years and, in places, uses outdated language. Some enactments will also contain provisions which have been repealed, or which may be redundant in practice, but this may not be obvious to the reader.

The project

The Law Commission is an independent body that keeps the law under review and makes recommendations for law reform where needed. The Welsh Government has asked the Law Commission to consider, whether, and how, agricultural law in Wales could be modernised, simplified and made more accessible through a process of codification.

Codification involves bringing all the law on a specific subject matter, such as agriculture, together under a code of law. In practice, this could mean that all of the agricultural law in Wales is consolidated into one or more pieces of legislation, and that consolidating legislation is identified as forming a code of law for agriculture.

The project is currently in the scoping stage which means the Law Commission will carry out a detailed analysis of the current law, to determine what a code of agricultural law for Wales might look like.

During the scoping stage, the Law Commission will be considering the following questions:

  • What legislation should form part of a code of agricultural law for Wales; and
  • What technical changes or adjustments to the law are desirable or necessary to simplify, streamline and modernise the law into the code of agricultural law.

We may also identify areas of agricultural law which require further analysis. Our project will not, however, extend to policy reform or review the substance of agricultural policy in Wales.


Read the project’s terms of reference here.

Next steps

The Law Commission has started preliminary work on the project. Our aim is to publish a scoping paper in spring 2025 which will make preliminary recommendations on the questions set out above and will also outline any proposals for future strands of work.


As explained above, our project will result in a scoping report, rather than making recommendations for reform of the law. We are therefore not conducting a full consultation, meaning we will not publish a consultation paper and invite consultees to give us their views. We are nonetheless very interested in hearing from individuals, professionals, groups or representative bodies who have an interest in our work. The project team can be contacted via

Project details

Area of law

Public law


Professor Alison Young