Island Life   

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Sark's Constitution

Bailiwick of Guernsey

The Channel Islands consist of two Bailiwicks, Guernsey and its close neighbours and Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands. The Bailiwick of Guernsey consists of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Jethou, Lihou, Breqhou and Burhou.  


Sark's was the last feudal state in Europe but following pressure from the European Court of Human Rights, free elections were held for the first time on 10th December 2008 in which 28 Conseillers were appointed to Chief Pleas. 412 voters made their mark with only two of those papers spoilt. This was an 87% turnout from the 474 eligible to vote.

Prior to 2008, the island's constitution dated back some four hundred years to Queen Elizabeth I and the island was split into 40 tenements. The Seigneur (the Queen's representative) presides over the island's government called Chief Pleas. This body used to comprise the Seigneur, Seneschal, twelve peoples' deputies and tenants who own the ancient tenements of the island (now replaced by peoples' elected Conseillers) . Chief Pleas meets at least four times and besides governing the island, also passes new laws. The Guernsey Royal Court can veto any decisions if they are considered to be unreasonable

Legal System

The Seneschal's Court is the island's only court of justice and deals with criminal and civil cases. The Seneschal is appointed by the Seigneur and is both judge and jury in any trials he hears. The Constable and the Vingtenier are the island's police force and hold office for a year at a time. Law enforcement is also supported by the Guernsey force when needed. The island's jail is probably the smallest in Europe and holds just two people but is rarely used.

The Royal Court in Guernsey deals with Appeals and thereafter cases can be referred to the Channel Islands' Court of Appeal. The final appeal is to the Privy Council Judicial Committee.

Useful Links

Sark Tourism site  

Sark Government site  which gives general information, details on the history and constitution of the island plus administration information and reports of Chief Pleas. 

Useful Contacts
Tel. No.
Seigneur 832017
Seneschal 832097
Constable 832533
Committee Office 832118
Fire Service Admin 832530
Greffier 832012
Island Hall 832666
Medical Officer 822811
Prevot 832202
Telephone Exchange 832284
Tourist Office 832345


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