The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, has advised that a ban on smacking children in Wales would be beyond the Welsh Assembly Government's powers.
Following the Government's announcement last October that there would not be a complete ban on parents smacking their children because a Government review found the majority of parents opposed such a ban, Welsh Assembly Ministers had been looking into whether they could introduce their own ban as part of a planned devolution of power over vulnerable children.
The Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain, has written to First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, informing him that the Attorney General has advised that such a ban impinges on the criminal justice system, which is not in the remit of assembly ministers.
The 2004 Childrens Act removed the legal defence of "reasonable punishment" for parents and carers who assault their children. Under the Act, parents are currently allowed to smack their children as long as it doesn't leave visible bruising, grazes, scratches, minor swellings or cuts.