Philip Bailhache

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Sir Philip Bailhache
Philip Bailhache Bailiff of Jersey 2008.jpg
Sir Philip Bailhache in 2008.
In office
Nov 2011 – Nov 2014
Constituency States of Jersey
Majority 80.2% of the vote
Bailiff of Jersey
In office
Preceded by Sir Peter Crill
Succeeded by Sir Michael Birt
Personal details
Born Philip Martin Bailhache[1]
28 February 1946 (1946-02-28) (age 71)
Nationality British
Residence Grouville, Jersey
Occupation Lawyer

Sir Philip Martin Bailhache, KBE (born 28 February 1946) is a Jersey politician and lawyer. He was elected as a Senator in the States of Jersey in October 2011 and serves as an Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister.[2] He previously held elected office as Deputy of Grouville 1972-1975. Between 1975 and 2009, he successively held office as Solicitor General, Attorney General, Deputy Bailiff and Bailiff of Jersey.

Early years and family[edit]

Bailhache was born in Jersey and was educated at St. Michael's Preparatory School and Charterhouse School, England.

His grandfather was a Jersey solicitor and served as Deputy for Grouville. His father was Lester Vivian Bailhache MA (1910-2005), a barrister called to the English Bar and an advocate in Jersey, he was Deputy of St Clement and subsequently a Jurat of the Royal Court of Jersey who served as Lieutenant-Bailiff of Jersey 1980-82.[3]

Bailhache read Law at Oxford University, was called to the English Bar in 1968 and the Jersey Bar in 1969. He practised from the family law firm, Bailhache and Bailhache in Hill Street, St Helier.

His brother, William Bailhache, was appointed HM Attorney General in 2000 and Deputy Bailiff in 2009.[4]

Legal career[edit]

Law Officer 1975-93[edit]

Bailhache served as a Law Officer of the Crown for 19 years, first as HM Solicitor General (1975–85) and subsequently as HM Attorney General (1986–93).

Deputy Bailiff and Bailiff 1994-2011[edit]

In 1994, Bailhache became Deputy Bailiff of Jersey, following the controversial removal from office of the previous Deputy Bailiff Vernon Tomes.[5] He was appointed Bailiff of Jersey in 1995, in succession to Sir Peter Crill. As Deputy Bailiff and Bailiff, he was an ex officio judge of the Court of Appeal of Jersey. He was a judge of the Court of Appeal of Guernsey from 1995 to 2009.

Bailhache introduced several modernizations to Jersey's legal system. In 1997, he was the founding editor of the Jersey Law Review (from 2007 the Jersey and Guernsey Law Review).[6] In 1998, he led the setting up and became the first chairman of the Jersey Legal Information Board, a project designed to use technologies to streamline the administration of justice and make Jersey court judgments[7] more easily accessible as part of the worldwide free access to law movement.[8] In 2008, he became the first chairman of the Governing Body of Jersey's law school, the Institute of Law, a not-for-profit organisation providing courses for candidates sitting the Jersey advocates and solicitors examinations and students taking the University of London LLB degree via the International Programmes.[9]

In July 2005, the Policy and Resources Committee of the States of Jersey established the Constitutional Review Group, with terms of reference 'to conduct a review and evaluation of the potential advantages and disadvantages for Jersey in seeking independence from the United Kingdom or other incremental change in the constitutional relationship, while retaining the Queen as Head of State'. Bailhache was invited to chair the Group, which produced a 'Second Interim Report' in December 2007, presented to the States by the Council of Ministers in June 2008.[10]

Bailhache retired from the office of Bailiff at the end of June 2009 and was succeed by Mr Michael Birt.[11] He continued to sit as a Commissioner (part-time judge) of the Royal Court of Jersey until July 2011.

Bailhache is an active member of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges' Association and became the Executive Vice-President in September 2009, following the retirement of Sir Henry Brooke.

His period of office as Bailiff was not without political criticism. Comments by Bailhache in his May 2008 Liberation Day speech [12] about reporting by the international news media of investigations of child abuse in the island were criticised, but maintained as justified by Bailhache.[13] On 15 July 2008, the States of Jersey Assembly overwhelmingly rejected a vote of no-confidence brought by Jersey Democratic Alliance member Deputy Shona Pitman, by 47 votes to three.[14]

Political career[edit]

Bailhache was elected to the States of Jersey as deputy of Grouville in 1972, resigning his seat in 1975 on his appointment as Solicitor General.

In 2009, Bailhache and his wife were among prominent islanders to give public support to a campaign to introduce civil partnerships for gay people in Jersey.[15] For many years, Bailhache has promoted reconciliation between the peoples of Jersey and Germany, especially in Bad Wurzach, where many islanders were interned during the Second World War.[16]

In written evidence to Lord Carswell's 2010 inquiry into reform of Jersey's Crown Officers, including the role of the Bailiff,[17] Bailhache concluded that "the current system works extremely well and there is no reason for change".[18]

In July 2011, he announced that he was standing in the elections for the four vacant Senatorial seats in Jersey's October 2011 general election.[19] He came top of the poll, receiving 17,538 votes (80.2% of votes cast).[20] He subsequently stood for election to the post of Chief Minister, but was defeated by 27 votes to 24 by Ian Gorst on 14 November 2011.[21] In Christmas 2011 Bailhache played a small impromptu role in the local village pantomime of Grouville where his rendition of a popular tune on a washboard was a delightful surprise.

Bailhache has called for changes to the Channel Islands' relationship with the United Kingdom government, arguing that "at the very least, we should be ready for independence if we are placed in a position where that course was the only sensible option".[22]

On 7 March 2012, the States appointed Bailhache as chairman of Jersey's Electoral Commission.[23] The Electoral Commission was set up to examine the constitution of the States Assembly.


In 1989 he became one of the first two Queen's Counsel learned in the law of Jersey.[24] He received a knighthood in 1996. In 2006, he was awarded[25] l'Ordre de la Pléiade (Grand Officier class) by l'Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie. He is an honorary fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford (elected 1995) and an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple (2003).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Senator - Sir Philip Martin Bailhache". Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  2. ^ Mason, Lucy (28 November 2011). "New assistant ministers are appointed". Jersey Evening Post. p. 6.  ; "Jersey chief minister makes rival assistant minister". BBC News Jersey. BBC. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-04.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  3. ^ ITV Channel Television - (2009). "Swearing-in of new Deputy Bailiff". Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "An Online Resource for the Royal Court of Jersey". Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  5. ^ HC Deb 19 May 1992 vol 208 cc93-4W,
  6. ^ "Jersey Law | Jersey and Guernsey Law Review". 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  7. ^ "Jersey Law | What's New". Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  8. ^ Declaration on Free Access to Law
  9. ^ "Home | Institute of Law". Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  10. ^ States of Jersey (2008). "Second Interim Report". Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  11. ^ ITV Channel Television - (2009). "Former Bailiff speaks out". Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  12. ^ BBC Jersey (2008). "Liberation Day 2008". Retrieved 20 October 2011. ; Anon (9 May 2008). "Jersey 'abuse' reports criticised". BBC News. London: BBC. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  13. ^ Anon (2 July 2009). "Former bailiff stands by speech". BBC News. London: BBC. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  14. ^ Shona Pitman (2008). "Vote of No Confidence: the Bailiff of Jersey". Retrieved 20 October 2011. ; Editorial (2008). "Political attack on the Bailiff". Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  15. ^ Anon (2009). "Group wants law changed to give gays equal rights". Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  16. ^ Anon (2005). "Occupation play to be staged in Germany". Retrieved 20 October 2011. ; Anon (2006). "Occupation art goes to twinned German town". Retrieved 20 October 2011. ; Anon (2005). "Bailiff’s words of hope". Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  17. ^ States of Jersey (2010). "Introduction to the review of Crown Officers". Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  18. ^ Bailhache, Philip, "Submission of Sir Philip Bailhache" (PDF), Panel Inquiring into the Roles of the Crown Officers, pp. para 25, retrieved 2011-10-20 ; Carswell, Lord (2010). "Panel Inquiring into the Roles of the Crown Officers" (PDF). States of Jersey. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  19. ^ Anon (11 July 2011). "Former Jersey Bailiff will stand for senator role". Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  20. ^ Anon (20 October 2011). "Sir Philip Bailhache tops Jersey election senatorial vote". Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "BBC News - Senator Ian Gorst is Jersey's new chief minister". 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  22. ^ Bailhache, Philip (2009). "One or two steps from sovereignty". Jersey and Guernsey Law Review. 
  23. ^ "Who’s on the Commission | The States Assembly – Electoral Commission". Retrieved 2013-03-31. 
  24. ^ Jersey Evening Post, 27 June 1989
  25. ^ Jersey Evening Post, 7 June 2006

External links[edit]