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THE NATIONAL PETITION ON THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE WELSH LANGUAGE, 1938-1942 Also be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that all Justices, Commissioners, Sheriffs, Coroners, Escheators, Stewards and their Lieutenants, and all other Officers and Ministers of the Law, shall proclaim and keep the Sessions Courts, Hundreds, Leets, Sheriffs Courts, and all other Courts in the English Tongue; and all Oaths of Officers, Juries and Inquests, and all other Affidavits, Verdicts and Wagers of Law, to be given and done in the English Tongue; and also that from henceforth no Person or Persons that use the Welsh Speech or Language shall have or enjoy any Manner, Office or Fees within this Realm of England, Wales, or other the King's Dominion, upon pain of forfeiting the same Offices or Fees, unless he or they use and exercise the English Speech or Language. THE harsh verbiage of Section 17 of the first instalment of the Union legislation of 1536, the first attempt to regulate by law the language used in the law courts throughout Wales, possessed a special significance four centuries later in the Wales of the 1930s when cultural barriers, dividing Welsh-speaking from non-Welsh-speaking Welshmen, seemed to intensify the impact of severe economic depression and social deprivation, introducing into Welsh life in the inter-war period an obvious and visible tension. The legal problem had been sharply highlighted in a case at the Caernarfonshire quarter sessions in 1933 when the chairman of the bench (who happened to be none other than D. Lloyd George) proposed that the trial should be conducted entirely in the Welsh language as all the jurors, the. advocates, most of the justices, the 1 Quoted in J. A. Andrews and L. G. Henshaw, The Welsh Language in the Courts (Aberystwyth, 1984), p. 1.