Politics of Guernsey
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
|Lieutenant Governor||Peter Walker (dec.)||15 April 2011|
|Bailiff||Richard Collas||23 March 2012|
|Chief Minister||Jonathan Le Tocq||12 March 2014|
The Lieutenant Governor is the representative of "the Crown in right of the république of the Bailiwick of Guernsey". The official residence of the Lieutenant Governor is Government House, Queens Road, St Peter Port. From 15 April 2011, the incumbent had been Peter Walker until his death on 6 September 2015.
The Bailiff is the first civil officer in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, serving as president of the legislature and the Royal Court. The Bailiff is appointed by the Crown, and generally holds office until retirement age (65). He presides at the Royal Court, and takes the opinions of the Jurats, elected lay judges; he also presides over the States, and represents the Crown in all civil matters.
The States of Deliberation
The States of Guernsey, officially called the States of Deliberation, consists of 45 People's Deputies, elected from multi-member districts every four years. There are also two representatives from Alderney, a self-governing dependency of the Bailiwick, but Sark sends no representative. There are also two non-voting members - HM Procureur and HM Comptroller, appointed by the Crown.
Laws made by the States are known as Projet(s) de Loi before they are passed and Loi or Law(s) afterwards (e.g. The Human Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 2000.
A Project de Loi is the equivalent of an English Bill, and a Law is the equivalent of an English Act of Parliament. Laws have no effect until Royal assent is promulgated as Orders-in-Council of the Crown. They are given the Royal Sanction at regular meetings of the Privy Council in London after, which they are returned to the Islands for formal registration at the Royal Court.
The States also make delegated legislation known as Ordinances (Ordonnances) and Orders (Ordres) which do not require Royal Assent. Commencement orders are usually in the form of Ordinances.
The Policy Council is responsible for Guernsey's constitutional and external affairs, developing strategic and corporate policy and coordinating States business. It also examines proposals and Reports placed before Guernsey's Parliament (the States of Deliberation) by Departments and Non States Bodies.
The Policy Council is chaired by the Chief Minister and is composed of the Minister from each of the governmental Departments.
Political parties and elections
Guernsey has no political parties with all representatives being elected as non-partisans.
In 2000 there were 33 Deputies elected with three year mandates, and 12 Conseillers representing the Bailiwick, serving terms of six years, with half being elected every three. The Conseiller system was scrapped for the 2004 election.
In addition there are two representatives of the States of Alderney in the States of Guernsey.
The legal system is derived from Norman French and English common law, justice being administered through a combination of Magistrates Court and the Royal Court. The Royal Court is presided over by the Bailiff (or Deputy Bailiff) and 12 Jurats (a permanent elected jury), the ultimate court of appeal being the Privy Council.
There are ten parishes in Guernsey. Each parish is administered by a Douzaine. Douzeniers are elected for a six year mandate, two Douzeniers being elected by parishioners at a Parish Meeting in November each year. The senior Douzenier is known as the Doyen. Two elected Constables carry out the decisions of the Douzaine, serving for between one and three years. The longest serving Constable is known as the Senior Constable and his or her colleague as the Junior Constable.
As regards General Elections, following the machinery of government changes in 2004, Guernsey has the following electoral districts, loosely based on the parish system:
- St. Peter Port North
- St. Peter Port South
- St. Sampson's
- South-East (St. Martin's and St. Andrew's)
- West (Torteval, Forest, St. Saviour's, St. Pierre-du-Bois)
Unlike citizens of Gibraltar, which is a British Overseas Territory and who have a vote within the South West England constituency, Guernsey, as with other Crown dependencies, are not part of the European Union and have no vote in their Parliament.
- Elections in Guernsey
- Policy Council of Guernsey
- Royal Commission on the Constitution (United Kingdom)
- "Parliament (States of Deliberation)". States of Guernsey.
- "Policy Council". States of Guernsey.
- "Guernsey by-election approved despite concerns". BBC.
- "Parish Contacts". States of Guernsey.
- "Guernsey Election 2016: Electoral districts reworked". BBC. 2 October 2015.