Who’s Who in Jersey’s Judiciary System?
Jersey’s judicial system is composed of various persons with diverse roles who are there to administer justice, help or represent individuals, or to assist in the general functioning of the system. Here we consider the main players in the civil justice system, where generally, consumers interact with the judiciary system in Jersey.
The civic head of the Bailiwick of Jersey is the Bailiff, currently Sir William Bailhache, who serves as both head of the Island’s judiciary (the Island’s court and justice system) and also as President of the States Assembly (the legislative assembly; although he typically has a non-voting role in the Assembly more akin to the role of a Parliament Speaker, this is the area of the role currently under review).
There is a Deputy Bailiff who assists the Bailiff in his various functions, and Commissioners who are additional judges who sit in our Royal Court (and are sometimes themselves former Bailiffs).
Judges (Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff or Commissioners) will often sit alongside Jurats. Jurats are lay members of the Court elected by the Members of the States Assembly and the Island’s lawyers, and who act as judges of fact. Their role is to evaluate the truth of a matter from the evidence put before them, and to determine the sentence in criminal matters.
Attorney General & Solicitor General
Jersey has both an Attorney General and a Solicitor General. They act essentially as lawyers for the State, representing the Island in international affairs, bringing public prosecutions of alleged criminals, and advising the Island’s government on anything including property matters, employment matters and anything else which such advice may be required for.
The Court system is administered by the Judicial Greffier as head of the Judicial Greffe. This is the arm of the Court system which deals with the filing of papers for court cases, the issuing of Acts of Court, the maintenance of the Island’s Public Registry, and dealing with matters of probate and wills. The Judicial Greffier also undertakes a judicial role in the form of the Master of the Royal Court, who will issue procedural orders and hear various preliminary matters in cases before they reach the full sitting of the Royal Court.
Finally, the Viscount’s Department is the executive arm of the Royal Court, it will serve Court documents on individuals or companies in the Island, effect wage arrests on those made the subject of such orders, and otherwise carry out Court enforcement duties. The Viscount also fulfils the role of the Island’s coroner, and administers bankruptcies.