The Lord Chief Justice Launches the Hywel Dda Research Institute
The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales has highlighted the importance of safeguarding the Welsh language at an inaugural lecture he gave to mark the launch of a new research centre for Swansea University’s School of Law.
The lecture, by Baron Igor Judge, head of the judiciary and President of the Courts of England and Wales, was entitled ‘The Welsh Language: Some Reflections on its History’.
His lecture focussed on the history of the Welsh language, exploring how its legal and constitutional status had developed through history. He told the audience of judges, lawyers and members of the public, that the Welsh language is surviving in a challenging international environment and within the context of modern communication, but that its survival is crucial.
The talk was given to mark the launch of the Hywel Dda Institute, a new research centre within the School of Law named after the tenth century Welsh king traditionally associated with producing native Welsh laws. The role of the institute is to promote research and scholarship on the Welsh legal tradition and the laws and legal system of modern Wales.
The Lord Chief Justice concluded his lecture by saying, ‘The language of Wales is a precious heritage. It has survived. Its survival is thanks to a relatively small number of people who or centuries stood by it, probably against their own economic and social self-interest. Here in Wales, speaking as Lord Chief Justice of Wales, I can only urge you to safeguard your language. Guard it well.'
Professor Gwyn Parry from Swansea University’s School of Law said, ‘The Hywel Dda Institute is a strategic response, following the referendum, to the change in the constitutional role of the National Assembly as a legislature. This process of Wales acquiring its own legal identity has been labelled Legal Wales and it is the mission of the Hywel Dda Institute to contribute to the maintenance and development of Legal Wales by promoting research and scholarship which reach levels of excellence measured against the highest international standards.
“It was an honour for us to have the Lord Chief Justice to deliver the inaugural lecture, which was a fascinating, passionate and timely exploration of a subject which is at the heart of Legal Wales, devolution, indeed, the national life of Wales.”