Welsh Language Act 1993
Long titleAn Act to establish a Board having the function of promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language, to provide for the preparation by public bodies of schemes giving effect to the principle that in the conduct of public business and the administration of justice in Wales the English and Welsh languages should be treated on a basis of equality, to make further provision relating to the Welsh language, to repeal certain spent enactments relating to Wales, and for connected purposes.
Citation1993 c.38
Territorial extentEngland and Wales; Scotland; Northern Ireland
Royal assent21 October 1993
Other legislation
Amended byWelsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Welsh Language Act 1993,[1] is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which put the Welsh language on an equal footing with the English language in Wales.

The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 had made English the only language of public administration in Wales. The Welsh Courts Act 1942[2] removed any doubt about the right to use Welsh in courts providing that the Welsh speaker was under a disadvantage in having to speak English, but this was very narrowly defined by subsequent case law. The Welsh Language Act 1967,[3] overturned these decisions and gave rise to the concept of 'equal validity' between the Welsh and English languages. As a result, Governmental Departments began preparing documents in Welsh, and following a campaign of destroying or vandalising unilingual English road signs by members of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (The Welsh Language Society), local councils were allowed to provide many bilingual signs in Wales. It was however the Welsh Language Act 1993 which established that 'in the course of public business and the administration of justice, so far as is reasonably practicable, the Welsh and English languages are to be treated on the basis of equality.'

The Act achieved three things:

The powers given to the Secretary of State for Wales under this Act were later devolved to the National Assembly for Wales. Delegated or secondary legislation has been made under this Act by the Secretary of State, and subsequently the National Assembly requiring more public bodies, such as the Welsh Language Board, to prepare what are known as Welsh Language Schemes which show their commitment to the 'equality of treatment' principle.

See also


  1. ^ Participation, Expert. "Welsh Language Act 1993". www.legislation.gov.uk.
  2. ^ "Welsh Courts Act 1942". www.legislation.gov.uk.
  3. ^ "Welsh Language Act 1967 (repealed 21.12.1993)". www.legislation.gov.uk.