The Welsh Language Act 1993 (the 1993 Act) established the Welsh Language Board and provided that certain public bodies should give effect, so far as is appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practicable, to the principle that the Welsh and English languages should be treated equally in the conduct of public business in Wales. To further this, the1993 Act required bodies which provide services to the public in Wales and who had received a notice from the Welsh Language Board to prepare a Welsh language scheme setting out the steps the body will take in relation to the use of Welsh while providing those services. The Welsh Language Board could approve the schemes, provide guidance on the schemes and monitor compliance with them.
Only bodies which are defined as public bodies in the Act or specified in an separate order made under it may be given a notice requiring them to prepare schemes. The 1993 Act gives the Welsh Ministers the power to give a Welsh name to any body, office or place to which legislation gives a name. In addition, it provides that where an Act confers power to specify a form of document or a form of words, the Welsh Ministers may prescribe Welsh versions of these documents or forms. Much of the 1993 Act remains in force, with the Welsh Language Commissioner carrying out the role of the now abolished Welsh Language Board in respect of the schemes.
Part II of the 1993 Act continues to be in force and relates, among other things, to the use of Welsh in legal proceedings.