The Supreme Court has ruled that the Welsh Assembly was entitled to pass a law regulating agricultural workers' wages and conditions of employment. The Welsh Government introduced the legislation after Westminster scrapped a system that covered both England and Wales.
The Attorney General referred the bill to the Supreme Court. He argued that the legislation was primarily to do with employment, which is not devolved, rather than agriculture, for which the Assembly is responsible. The bill could not be sent for Royal Assent unless the Welsh Government won.
The judges said that "agriculture" doesn't just mean cultivation or rearing livestock but refers to the entire agricultural industry in all its aspects. All five judges ruled that the bill can be "aptly" classified as relating to agriculture and found in favour of the Welsh Government.
The Welsh Government's top legal officer has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether or not the Assembly has the power to introduce a law to make businesses or insurers pay the costs of treating asbestos patients.
The Counsel General, Theodore Huckle, has referred the bill after representatives of the insurance industry questioned the Assembly's power to legislate on the matter.
It's the first time the Counsel General has taken this step although the two previous bills have been referred by the UK Attorney General. The Supreme Court cleared one concerning local government bye-laws and will rule on another to protect the wages of agricultural workers in February 2014
A law rushed through the Assembly last month will be challenged in the Supreme Court. The Agriculture Sector (Wales) Bill replaces the system for setting farm workers' pay and conditions in England and Wales, which the UK Government said was no longer needed.
The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, has asked the Court to decide if the Bill is about agriculture, which is devolved to the Assembly, or employment rights, which are reserved to Westminster. The Welsh Government now cannot send the Bill for Royal Assent until -and unless- it wins in court.
The Court will make its ruling later this year. The UK Government "intends to seek to continue" the old agricultural wages system in Wales until the Supreme Court decides the matter. The Conservatives, who opposed the Bill, say the Welsh Government has brought the court case upon itself.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Welsh Government's first law was within the Welsh Assembly's legislative competence, and can go ahead.
The Local Government Byelaws Bill was passed by the assembly in July this year. But it was blocked from becoming law by the attorney general and referred to the court.