States of Jersey vote not to translate laws from French

Jersey's parish laws will not be translated from French into English.

The island has two official languages, French and English, and many of the older laws are still written in French.

Deputy Mike Higgins said islanders should be able to read and understand all laws and wanted them translated into English.

But States members voted against translating all laws relating to the parishes into English and re-enacting them in the States.

The chairman of the Constables Committee, Constable John Gallichan, said it would take too long and cost too much money.

He said: "Logistically it is a major piece of work."

Deputy Higgins argued people who cannot read French could not "know or exert their rights or conduct their affairs in such a way that they are in conformity with the law".

He said: "It also means those officers and officials in States departments, parish halls and all other forms of public authorities who cannot read French may not be applying these laws correctly."

Constable Gallichan suggested the Jersey Legal Information Board could provide translations on request instead of forcing all laws to be translated.

Jersey is split into 12 parish authorities each with a number of powers including issuing driving licences and controlling Sunday trading.

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