A former chief legal officer for the United Kingdom, Lord Morris of Aberavon, has spoken out to urge members of the Welsh Assembly to seriously consider the costs associated with the creation of a new, separate judicial system for Wales.
Lord Morris says that proposals to devolve judicial powers to Wales must be considered in light of their costs, adding that it is almost impossible to quantify the amount of work involved in such an operation.
Wales and England have shared a judicial system since 1536.
The Welsh Assembly consultation into the matter finished on 19 June. Lord Morris made his comments to a cross-party constitutional and legislative affairs committee who are looking at the issue of a devolved judiciary for Wales.
The consultation was seeking views on whether a separate judiciary was a good idea, and if so what it might look like.
In evidence Lord Morris said: "It is not at this stage possible to surmise the cost of creating an 'independent jurisdiction'. I surmise they would be considerable. The committee might want to consider this as a priority."
The move is supported by the fact that Wales has been able to legislate in several areas since partial devolution in 1999. Proponents argue that the legal systems of the two countries will continue to diverge, making the argument for a separate judiciary more compelling over time.
Critics argue that the current system has served Wales, and England, well for the past 450 years or more, and does not need changing at present.
Responses to the consultation run by the Welsh Assembly are being considered and will be published ahead of an announcement on the next phase of the proposals later this year.
True Wales, a group which is against further power being devolved to Wales, has said it did not take part in the consultation as it believes the entire exercise is designed to promote the idea ahead of a vote on the matter in years to come.
"We believe that the existing shared jurisdiction between England and Wales is a fundamental part of our union," said a spokesperson in a statement for True Wales.
"The creation of a Wales-only jurisdiction would not only create serious cross-border anomalies but would also be another significant step towards separation from the United Kingdom," they added.