Royal Square, St Helier
Bailiwick of Jersey
The Channel Islands consist of two Bailiwicks, Jersey
and Guernsey which includes its close neighbours of Alderney, Sark, Jethou, Lihou, Breqhou and Burhou.
King John established the Royal Court, appointed a
chief officer or Bailiff ("official in a court of law") assisted by 12 jurats (from the Latin jurare, to swear as
on an oath) Gradually the office of Bailiff took over the duties of the Seneschal of Normandy and came to represent
the civil authority under his own bailiwick. In 1455 during the War of the Roses, the administration was split into
two bailiwicks, Jersey and Guernsey. Sark was uninhabited and Alderney was held under a private lease.
Gradually the Bailiff came to take advice from his
citizens and by the mid 18th century, the States of Deliberation had been formed, separate from the Royal Court but
the Bailiff still heading up both. To this day, the role of Bailiff remains the same. In the mid 19th century, the
first peoples deputies were elected .
The composition of the States is now as
Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache (President) appointed by
Queen's Representative Air Chief Marshall Sir John Cheshire KCB., His Excellency the Lieutenant
12 Senators elected by parish vote
29 People’s deputies elected by parish vote
12 parish constables
For details of current States members, click
Other Government Officials
Mr Michael Cameron St. John Birt
The Very Reverend John N. Seaford, B.A, Dip.Theol.,
The Dean of Jersey
Mr William James Bailhache, Q.C.,
H.M. Attorney General
Miss Stéphanie Claire Nicolle, Q.C.,
H.M. Solicitor General
Mr Geoffrey Henry Charles Coppock,
Greffier of the States
Miss Catherine Mary Newcombe,
Deputy Greffier of the States
Mr Peter Alexander Noël de Gruchy,
The States of Jersey is the government
of the Bailiwick of Jersey and handles all matters except
diplomatic and defence aspects.
The UK Government, often these days as a result of an
EC directive, will recommend new laws or amendments. The States are not obliged to accept such recommendations but
often do subject to amendments to satisfy local requirements.. Many local laws however are still based on ancient
Norman custom law and these include bankruptcy and inheritance.
All local legislative changes must be approved by the
Privy Council for Royal Assent before they become enacted locally.
The island has twelve parishes and ten of these are came into being as part of the community
area linked to the church with names linked to Saints. The two which do not, are Trinity and Grouville.
Link here for more information on Jersey's parishes.
Click here for details of States Departments.
In addition to the local parish council, the Douzaine,
the office of parish Constable (or “Connetable”) still exists in both Jersey and Guernsey and in Jersey they retain
some law enforcement duties. Each official is appointed by the Douzaine for a two year period of office. In Jersey
they still have a seat in the States of Deliberation. The name Douzenir originates from the Latin doziner
meaning a man elected by and to represent 12 free families.
Constitutional Review 2001
(Adobe Acrobat PDF format)
A Government Review body, The Clothier Review panel reported in January 2001 and recommends
separating the Bailiff's current joint role of head of judiciary and President of the States. It makes almost 50
recommendations including a cabinet style government of 7 ministers headed by a Chief Minister & reducing the
number of Deputies. Reform is expected to take place within one year. For the full report, link to the States of Jersey site.
A similar review body in Guernsey chaired by Advocate Peter Harwood recently presented
their report to the States of Guernsey. A review of the number of the number of elected members shows Jersey
second highest after Guernsey. A sample from that table:
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