INTRODUCTION TO THE DISPUTE RESOLUTION FRAMEWORK
Jersey is a self-governing British Crown Dependency. It is the largest of the Channel Islands. It is not part of the United Kingdom and is not a member of the European Union. Originally part of the Duchy of Normandy, it has owed its allegiance to the British Crown for over eight centuries. It has always maintained a separate legal system from Britain, as well as its own legislature and tax system.
Jersey law derives from legislation and customary law (a concept similar to common law). Most modern legislation emanates from the Island’s legislature, the States of Jersey. Occasionally the UK parliament extends its legislation to Jersey, but only with the consent of the States of Jersey.
Jersey customary law derives from a variety of sources, including Norman customary law, the French Code Civil and English common law and statute. The sources relied upon vary depending on the area of law: typically the areas of law with the oldest origins – such as immoveable property and succession – rely most heavily on Norman customary law, while areas that have developed more recently, such as tort, administrative law and criminal law, are heavily in uenced by English authorities. Jersey contract law is a blend of English and French law. The law of trusts has developed relatively recently and is rooted in English law and procedure, but it has been governed by a Jersey statute since 1984 and there are some significant local differences from English trusts law.
Jersey’s principal court is the Royal Court, presided over by the Bailiff , the Island’s chief judge. All but the most minor civil and criminal cases are heard there. The Bailif is assisted by jurats, who are the judges of fact in all civil cases. Here are 12 full-time jurats, elected by the Jersey legal profession and the legislature. Jurats need not be legally trained but typically have long experience of professional, business or civic life. Two jurats sit with the judge in civil trials.
The Deputy Bailiff and a number of Commissioners also exercise the Bailif’s judicial functions. As well as local Commissioners drawn from the Jersey Bar there are a number of specialist overseas Commissioners, appointed from time to time to hear particular types of case. ey are typically British QCs or retired High Court judges.
Civil appeals are to the Jersey Court of Appeal. Its members include the Bailiff and Deputy Bailiff of Jersey, the Bailiff of Guernsey, and a number of lawyers from Commonwealth jurisdictions, the majority being British QCs or former judges.
The ultimate appellate court in civil matters is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in London. Only decisions of the Privy Council on appeals from Jersey are binding in Jersey, although appeals from other jurisdictions may be persuasive in Jersey.
Please use the link below to read Jersey Chapter of The Dispute Resolution Review in full.