In a judgement handed down in the High Court in Cardiff this morning, Mr Justice Hickinbottom and His Honour Judge Milwyn Jarman QC declared that the decision of National Savings and Investments to bring its Welsh Language Scheme to an end on 22 April 2013 was unlawful; and following a judicial review on the application of the Welsh Language Commissioner, this decision was quashed.
The Commissioner applied to the High Court for judicial review of the decision by National Savings and Investments to revoke its Welsh Language Scheme in April 2013. This is the first time that a case involving the Welsh language has been heard in judicial review; and this case was also the first time ever where a judicial review has been heard in Welsh.
Today’s judgement founded that the agency had acted unlawfully by revoking its Welsh Language Scheme and bringing its Welsh language services to an end. It was judged that the Language Scheme continues in operation.
The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, said:
"The decision to apply for a judicial review on this issue was not taken lightly, but follwing complaints from service-users this was a step I was determined to take as Commissioner.
“My role as Commissioner is to use the power of the law to ensure rights for Welsh speakers, and it is an honour that I have been able to do that. The judgement today is proof that I am able to use my powers to stand up for the Welsh language and its speakers.
“The message is clear to Westminster Government departments that provide services in Wales that they cannot decide to revoke Welsh language services on a whim.
“I expect to see National Savings and Investments resuming their Welsh language service that they discontinued and that they do that immediately.”