Jersey

Jersey's Bailiff keeps dual role as speaker and chief judge

Bailiff
Image caption Although there was support for ending the Bailiff's role in presiding over States meetings, many said not enough work has been done to prepare for the change

Jersey's Bailiff will remain as both speaker of parliament and chief judge, the island's parliament has ruled.

An attempt to introduce an elected speaker in about a year's time was rejected in the States of Jersey on Tuesday.

The office of Bailiff, which is a Crown appointment, is currently held by William Bailhache.

Many deputies told the States that not enough work had been done to prepare for the change.

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Duties of the Bailiff:

  • Head of the judiciary
  • President of the Royal Court
  • President of the Court of appeal
  • President of the States Assembly
  • Deputy Governor in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor
  • President of the College of Electors
  • Responsible for giving permission for certain types of public entertainment
  • Civic head of the island
  • Guardian of the constitution

Source: States of Jersey

The office of Bailiff has existed since the 13th Century. Originally, as president of the Royal Court, the Bailiff administered and wrote the law of the island.

This eventually evolved to the current situation where the Bailiff is the chief judge and speaker of the assembly.

The most recent reform, after the introduction of a chief minister as head of the government of Jersey, saw the right of the Bailiff to hold a casting vote in case of a tie removed.

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