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National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Act 2012

The National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Act 2012 (the 2012 Act) makes provision about the use of the English and Welsh languages in Senedd proceedings and in the way the Senedd Commission discharges its functions. (The National Assembly for Wales changed its name to ‘Senedd Cymru’ or ‘Welsh Parliament’ on 6 May 2020, in accordance with the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020.) 

The 2012 Act provides that:

  • English and Welsh are the official languages of the Senedd
  • both languages must be treated on the basis of equality
  • the use of either official language is permitted in Senedd proceedings
  • the record of proceedings must contain a transcript in the original language together with a translation into the other language
  • each Senedd must publish an Official Languages Scheme which makes provision about matters such as:
    • simultaneous translation
    • the publication of documents bilingually
    • public engagement
    • measuring progress
    • a language skills strategy for staff
  • the Senedd must report annually on the way it discharges its duties under the Scheme, and any breaches of the Scheme.

The Explanatory Notes to the 2012 Act provide detailed commentary on the various provisions.

Coming into force:

The 2012 Act came into force on 13 November 2012, which was the day after it received Royal Assent, in accordance with section 3.

Subordinate legislation made under the Act:

No subordinate legislation has been made under this Act.

Consideration of the legislation by the Senedd: 

The Bill was introduced by Rhodri Glyn Thomas, who was the Assembly Commissioner with responsibility for the Welsh Language at the time, on 30 January 2012. It was passed by Senedd Cymru (known then as the National Assembly for Wales) on 3 October 2012.

More information about the Bill is available on the Senedd’s website, including a record of the passage of the Bill through the Senedd and the Explanatory Memorandum that was prepared by Rhodri Glyn Thomas, as the Member in charge of the Bill (on introduction of the Bill).

The Act received Royal Assent on 12 November 2012.

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Last updated
02 August 2023