Bailiwick of Guernsey
Bailiwick of Guernsey
(British Crown Dependency)
Joined United Nations: 24 October 1945
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 10 January 2013
Saint Peter Port
65,345 (July 2012 est.)
Chief Minister since 1 May 2012
The monarch is hereditary; lieutenant governor appointed by the
Next scheduled election: None
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Chief minister is elected by States of Deliberation, The Bailiff is
appointed by the monarch and holds the position until retirement
at age 65; Election last held: 18 April 2012
Next scheduled election: 2016
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
British and Norman-French descent with small percentages from other European countries
Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist
Parliamentary democracy with 10 parishes; Legal system is the laws of the UK, where applicable, apply; justice is administered by
the Royal Court
Executive: The monarch is hereditary; lieutenant governor appointed by the monarch; chief minister is elected by States of
Deliberation; the Bailiff is appointed by the Monarch
Legislative: Unicameral States of Deliberation (45 seats; members are elected by popular vote for four years); note - Alderney
and Sark have parliaments
elections: last held 18 April 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
Judicial: Royal Court
English, French, Norman-French dialect spoken in country districts
Like the rest of the Channel Islands, Guernsey is steeped in history. Up to 6,500BC, the islands were in fact part of the French
mainland until the Ice Age came to an end. Discoveries in the 20th century have shown evidence of mankind dating back to 5,000
BC (New Stone Age) when tribes, possibly from Spain moved here. All around Guernsey are traces of neolithic man, including
defensive earth works, menhirs and dolmens. These are burial chambers built above the ground and several survive in remarkably
good condition. The largest in Guernsey, La Varde Dolmen is near the 17th green of L'Ancresse golf course and measures 11
metres long by four metres wide and has a capping stone pile of five metres long and one metre thick. One cannot even start to
imagine how early man could have moved such stones into position. Further dolmens can be found at Hougue de Dehus, which has
a burial Chamber of for 10 metres by 1.5 metres , Le Creux es Feies (the fairy grotto) and Le Trepid near to Le Catioroc which
Victor Hugo claimed was haunted by the cries of women waiting for their lover, the devil. As mentioned in the section on churches,
human figures carved out of granite have also had survived from around 2500. Celts probably from France and Germany, from
around 800BC have also left their mark. Excavations at Jerbourg revealed Iron Age earthworks and elsewhere long swords spear
heads and beads have been found in tombs. It is also known that at the Vale Castle site a fort dating back to around 550BC was
built there. Several excavations in St Peter Port prior to rebuilding works in the late twentieth-century have confirmed that the
Romans used the island as a trading base from around 56 AD and probably stayed here for around 250 years. A third century
shipwreck discovered in the mouth of St Peter Port harbour 1n 1982 is known to be the Roman ship "Asterix"and is now on display
in Castle Cornet. The most important medieval wreck site in NW Europe near St Peter Port Harbour mouth is larger than first
thought. There may be as many as five or more wrecks dating back to 14th century. The find has been described as being of
world-class importance because there is such a large concentration of mediaeval ship structures in one place. Erosion and heavy sea
traffic is resulting in the wrecks breaking up and timber is being washed away. Southampton University is engaged in analysing the
timbers and if funds can be raised, the wrecks may be lifted. Guernsey was an important trading point between France and England.
A large amount of pottery from the Saintonge region of France has been found, suggesting that the ship was carrying a consignment
of earthenware. Excavations in the Bonded Store area under Market street have also revealed medieval artefacts including pottery,
ceramics, a Venus figurine and a small jewel called Intaglis. They have helped build up a picture back to Roman times. The
Archaeology department hope to publish a book about Roman Guernsey in 2001. A new archaeological dig in the marshy Belgrave
Vinery site in the Vale got underway in June 2001. Early finds are promising with the discovery of a substantial standing stone that
could date back to 4,000 BC. The area is very low lying, has medieval drainage and is thought not to have been developed upon
since the Duke of Richmond's map of 1787. A major housing development is due to be built on the site. The Romans named
Guernsey as Sarnia. The ending on Guernsey "ey" is viking meaning island. The islands enjoyed a fair amount of independence
although technically ruled from Lyons. Islanders proudly state that their ancestors were part of the forces of Norman the Conqueror
which defeated England in 1066. In fact since around 933, when Rollo's son William Longsword added the islands to the dukedom
of Normandy, the inhabitants of these islands have been answerable only to the Duke of Normandy and his successors, the British
sovereign. When Guillaume Duke of Normandy conquered England in 1066, he became King William I as well as Duke of
Normandy. However when King John lost the territory of Normandy to Philip II of France, the Channel Islands remained loyal to
the English crown. In return for this loyalty, King John granted to the islands, certain rights and privileges in 1215 which enabled
them to be virtually self-governing, subject only to Royal assent and enactments through the Privy Council. In 1294 a large part of
the Guernsey population were killed in French raids. In fact over the ensuing centuries, possession of the islands switched back and
forth between the English and French six times. Large castles were built most of which still survive today. Between 1338 and 1340,
the French occupied Guernsey and seized Castle Cornet, holding on to it for six years. Raids continued up to the end of the 1400s
and in 1480 Pope Sixtus IV declared the island to be neutral. In 1481 the States of Guernsey had been formed and Guernsey was
already exporting woolens. At the end of the English civil war, Guernsey petitioned the Monarchy pleading for a Royal pardon in
1660. This was granted and all previous rights and privileges were restored. In the 1600's privateering became commonplace and
considerable wealth started to build up in the islands. This was legalised piracy licensed by the Crown to seize foreign ships. During
the Reformation ,the islands swayed between Catholicism and Protestantism. John Wesley visited Guernsey in 1787 and
Methodism flourished. I n the 1800's, wealthy French residents fleeing the revolution, set up home in the islands and many of the
Town houses one sees today were built during this era. Sixteen forts and 58 coastal batteries were also built to defend the island
from the French prior to the Battle of Waterloo. The Bridge area at St Sampsons was also filled in to stop the north of the island
from being separated. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, as a result of the Napoleonic wars, the trade of Guernsey was
practically extinguished and the people were in despair. Unemployment was rife, the sea defences were breaking down, there were
practically no roads, public buildings were in disrepair and, above all, a new market house, where the islanders could exchange their
produce, was urgently needed. After much debate the States agreed to issue its own bank notes for the first time and 40,000 £1
notes were issued in 1816. During 1940-1945, Guernsey was occupied by German forces and huge numbers of defensive positions
were built as part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall. Of the population of 40,000 17,000 were evacuated to England. By 1944, most
islanders were near to starvation and a Red Cross ship carrying supplies in 1944 was a very welcome sight. The islands were
liberated in May 1945 and every year islanders celebrate their freedom on 9th May. Post war, tourism started to really take off and
around 250,000 people per annum were visiting Guernsey. The tax rate was reduced to 20% in 1959 and a large influx of wealthy
UK individuals followed. Housing controls were brought in during the 1960s to try and control the population growth but with
limited success. In the 1970s the old harbour and Victoria dock were converted to marinas for local and visiting boat owners and in
1973 Guernsey became an Associate member of the EEC. At the start of the 1980s the North Beach marina and car park were
built. Stable government and a lack of party politics has encouraged Banking and Finance generally, to be the main income earners
from the 1980's onwards and has brought huge wealth to Guernsey and a respectable standing in the world of Offshore Finance
centres. As with elsewhere in the World, fast technological change has been a feature of the 1980s and 1990s and as the new
Millennium appeared, the island was gearing itself for e-commerce.
Source: Island Life: History of Guernsey
Financial services - banking, fund management, insurance - account for about 23% of employment and about 55% of total income
in this tiny, prosperous Channel Island economy. Tourism, manufacturing, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, have
been declining. Financial services, construction, retail, and the public sector have been growing. Light tax and death duties make
Guernsey a popular tax haven. The evolving economic integration of the EU nations is changing the environment under which
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Guernsey)
The Lieutenant Governor is the representative of the Crown. The official residence of the Lieutenant Governor is Government
House Queens Road St Peter Port. Since 18 October 2005, the incumbent is Air Marshal Peter Walker, born in Durham Ports in
1949 and a air officer 1975-2007. His last naval posting was as Commander of the Joint Warfare Centre in Norway in 2005 and
retired in 2007.
The Bailiff is the first civil officer in the bailiwick of Guernsey, serving as president of the legislature and the Royal Court. Since
2004, Guernsey's head of government is the Chief Minister. 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 Guernsey, officially called the States of Deliberation, consists of 45 People's Deputies, elected from multi- or
single-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 - the Attorney General and the Solicitor
General both appointed by the monarch.
Laws made 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 promulgated as Orders-in-Council of the Crown.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Guernsey
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 INCSR: Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR)
March 3, 2011
The Bailiwick of Guernsey (the Bailiwick) encompasses a number of the Channel Islands (Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Herm). As a
Crown Dependency of the United Kingdom, it relies on the United Kingdom (UK) for its defense and international relations. Alderney and
Sark have their own separate parliaments and civil law systems. Guernsey’s parliament legislates in matters of criminal justice for all of
the islands in the Bailiwick. The Bailiwick is a sophisticated financial center and, as such, it continues to be vulnerable to money
Enforcement and implementation issues and comments:
The Bailiwick has been actively involved in the provision of formal mutual legal assistance for many years. The authorities consider
themselves able to provide assistance without the need to enter into mutual legal assistance treaties, and this has enabled compliance with
requests from a wide range of jurisdictions, including the US, using the full range of investigatory powers in the law.
Guernsey’s comprehensive AML/CFT legal framework provides a sound basis for an effective AML/CFT regime, and most
shortcomings are technical in nature. Money laundering and the financing of terrorism are criminalized fully in line with the FATF
standard and the legal framework provides an ability to freeze and confiscate assets in appropriate circumstances. While no
shortcomings have been identified in the legal framework, concerns remain with respect to the implementation of the money laundering
provisions. Given the size of the Bailiwick’s financial sector and its status as an international financial center, the modest number of
cases involving money laundering by financial sector participants and the small number of money laundering cases resulting in
convictions raises questions concerning the effective application of money laundering provisions.
Guernsey is a Crown Dependency and cannot sign or ratify international conventions in its own right unless entrusted to do so. Rather,
the UK is responsible for the Bailiwick’s international affairs and, at Guernsey’s request, may arrange for the ratification of any
Convention to be extended to the Bailiwick. The UK’s ratification of the 1988 UN Drug Convention was extended to include the
Bailiwick on April 3, 2002; its ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption was extended to include Guernsey on November 9,
2009; and its ratification of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism was extended to Guernsey on
September 25, 2008. The UK has not extended the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime to the Bailiwick
Click here to read more »
BRIEFING ON THE UNITED KINGDOM AND ITS CROWN DEPENDENCIES AND OVERSEAS TERRITORIES FOR THE
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
PRESESSIONAL WORKING GROUP – October 2012
The human rights obligation to prohibit corporal punishment – a key strategy in eliminating all forms of violence
The legality and practice of corporal punishment of girls breaches their fundamental rights to respect for their human dignity and
physical integrity, to equality under the law and to protection from all forms of violence – rights guaranteed in the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and other international human rights instruments. There are strong links
between corporal punishment of children – girls and boys – and all other forms of violence, including gender-based violence. As the
Committee on the Rights of the Child emphasised in its General Comment No. 8 (2006),1 addressing corporal punishment is “a key
strategy for reducing and preventing all form of violence in societies”.
3 The legality of corporal punishment in the British Crown Dependencies (CDs): Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man Corporal punishment is
unlawful in the penal system but it is lawful in the home and care settings in all CDs and in schools in Guernsey and Jersey.
Home: The right to administer “reasonable chastisement” under English common law applies in the Crown Dependencies. It is confirmed
in legislation in Guernsey and Jersey as “the right of any parent, teacher or other person having the lawful control or charge of a child to
administer punishment” in Guernsey (Child Protection (Alderney) Law 1953, art. 2) and Jersey (Children (Jersey) Law 2002, art. 3).
Schools: In Guernsey and Jersey there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in schools; it is lawful under the above
mentioned provisions confirming the right of teachers “to administer punishment”.
Care settings: In Guernsey and Jersey there is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment; it is lawful under the above mentioned
provisions confirming the right of persons having the lawful control or charge of a child “to administer punishment”. In the Isle of Man,
corporal punishment is prohibited by law in residential homes, in homes run by voluntary organisations and in foster care, but it is not
prohibited in day care.
5 Recommendations by human rights treaty bodies and during the UPR
5.1 UN treaty bodies have made numerous recommendations to the UK to prohibit corporal punishment of children in the home and/or
other settings throughout the state party. Recommendations on corporal punishment have been made three times by the Committee on
the Rights of the Child,4 once by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women,5 three times by the Committee on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights6 and twice by the Human Rights Committee.7
5.2 Recommendations to prohibit corporal punishment were also made during the Universal Periodic Review of the UK in 2008 (the
Government rejected the recommendations8) and again in 2012 (the Government is yet to respond9).
5.3 The European Committee of Social Rights has twice concluded that the situation in the UK is not in conformity with the European
Social Charter because corporal punishment of children in the home is not prohibited.10
Click here to read more »
No Reports from Freedom House mentioning Guernsey after exhaustive search of their database. Please forward any
information you may have regarding Freedom House efforts on behalf of Guernsey to the Pax Gaea World Report editor at
the link below
Contact the editor »
Amnesty International Guernsey
* Amnesty International is a worldwide voluntary movement of people who campaign for human rights.
* We are independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.
* Our vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human rights
and other international human rights standards.
* It is affiliated to the AIUK and is a campaign group.
There has been an active Amnesty International Group in Guernsey since the 1970's. During this time many people have contributed their
time and effort to letter-writing (and, more recently, e-mail), raising the profile of the organisation in the media, bringing speakers to visit
Guernsey and fund-raising. Because of the way Amnesty works we do not campaign on local issues where our views may be
misinterpreted as political but we work with colleagues around the world on cases in many countries. Here are examples of some of
things we have done locally:
We arrange for speakers to come over from the UK and give talks to the public and schools and on the radio. These people have
typically had direct contact with prisoners of conscience and done research in other countries. We value their role in making people
aware of what happens outside Guernsey.
We have worked on long-term campaigns writing to authorities on behalf of prisoners of conscience. A typical case was an elderly
Presbyterian minister in South Korea who was imprisoned for making statements about wanting to see an eventual re-unification of the
North and South. We sent letters and faxes to the authorities enquiring after his health and a review of the sentencing policy (he was in
his 70's) and received feedback from a Korean group of human rights activists. Guernsey shared this case with others in Norway and
the UK. Eventually he was released in a general amnesty and we would like to think that AI's highlighting of this and similar cases had
some positive effect.
We also keep people aware of our work and raise funds for research by organising various events, this year a flag day, a pub quiz at the
Peninsular Hotel, a stall at the Fermain Tavern with the Vale Earth Fair and Vale Castle and towards the end of the year a musical event
at the Fermain Tavern. UK members have been made aware of our existence also since we have raised funds by selling locally
manufactured Guernseys via mail order.
Click here to read more»
No Reports from Human Rights Watch mentioning Guernsey after exhaustive search of their database. Please forward any
information you may have regarding Human Rights Watch efforts on behalf of Guernsey to the Pax Gaea World Report editor
at the link below
Contact the editor »
Representatives from the States of Guernsey attended the Brighton Conference of the Council of Europe
Friday 20 April 2012
The UK currently holds the Presidency of the Council of Europe, which rotates between the 47 member nations. At the conference the
UK is seeking to further reform the European Court of Human Rights which is currently coping with a backlog of 150,000 cases as well
as looking at how the Convention is applied in national courts.
Guernsey had the European Convention of Human Rights extended to it in 1953 , and is given effect in local courts through the Human
Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey), Law 2000.
A Policy Council spokespersons said,
"the inclusion of Guernsey at international conferences that will impact on the island is a very positive sign. The island has an interest in
the reform of the European Court of Human Rights and in ensuring that the Convention system remains effective and can continue to
protect the rights and freedoms of residents. The Court is available to residents with admissible claims who have exhausted domestic
remedies in relation to legal challenges to enforce their Human Rights."
The primary aim of the Council of Europe is to create a common democratic and legal area throughout the whole of the continent,
ensuring respect for its fundamental values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Click here to read more »
Guernsey: image is everything
19 November 2012
The Image Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance 2012 was published on 19 October. The draft is expected to be approved at the
States Meeting on 28 November and come into effect on 3 December.
Image rights, which centre around the protection and exploitation of an individual’s name and image, have become increasingly relevant
because of the commercial value of the sponsorship, merchandising and product endorsement deals that exploit these rights.
In many cases, the income that personalities can derive from exploiting their image rights can exceed the remuneration they receive from
their professional activities.
No country in the world has introduced legislation specifically for the protection of image rights. Levels of protection vary around the
world, but the UK is not unusual in its image rights protection being based on a patchwork of IP and related rights including trademarks,
false endorsement, confidentiality and human rights.
IP rights typically operate at a national level. Patents and trademarks, for example, are registered at national registries and grant legal
rights in those countries, but a granted patent or trademark in one country does not prevent its unauthorised use in another unless and
until those rights are also registered in that country.
Similarly, copyright law operates at a national level and it requires the additional layer of a series of international conventions for
countries to grant reciprocal rights of protection.
Guernsey covers an area of less than 30 square miles and has a population of 65,000. It is proud of its low crime rate - last year’s figure
for image rights theft is believed to be zero.
This begs the question, why would Guernsey introduce legislation that no other country has, to legislate for something that does not
seem to be a problem?
The answer is that Guernsey is seeking to position itself among world leaders in innovative IP legislation, recognising the commercial
value of image rights and seeking to create an economic advantage from its legislative environment by providing for image rights law in
advance of what it sees as competitor jurisdictions.
The image rights legislation is bound to attract attention and, in terms of the declared aim of Guernsey’s Ministry of Commerce and
Employment to provide an image rights law in advance of competitor jurisdictions, it has certainly met that objective.
Other countries will now watch with interest whether Guernsey can turn the commercial value of image rights into an economic
The efficacy of infringement remedies may prove to be a sideshow in that respect, and the real question is whether the recognition of
image rights in law will cement their status and value as an asset class in a way that attracts business to Guernsey.
Of course, if the answer is yes, while everyone else has been watching, Guernsey will have gained a global head start.
Click here to read more »
Public Accounts Committee statement to the September 2012 States Meeting
Wednesday 26 September 2012
Text of the statement by the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee to the States of Deliberation on 26 September 2012,
concerning the Committee's fraud review
Deputy Bailiff, Members of the States
I am making this statement further to last week's publication of the terms of reference for the Public Accounts Committee's fraud
review. On behalf of the Committee, I wish to expand on the information provided in the accompanying media release and advise what
action it has taken since the Minister of the Treasury and Resources Department made his statement in July.
The Committee agreed at its meeting in July to commission and oversee the independent, external review into the specific incident of
fraud, in liaison with the Chief Minister. Although we wanted to commence the review immediately, it was prudent that we take advice
from the Guernsey Police and Law Officers on the potential impact the review could have on the ongoing criminal investigation.
It mustn't be forgotten that we are not dealing with a basic bread and butter review here. The fact is a criminal act has been committed
against the States of Guernsey, which affects the people of Guernsey, and a police investigation is underway.
It is not the wish of the Committee, or in the interests of the people of Guernsey, to jeopardise the Police investigation. We wish to get to
the heart of this incident as quickly as possible but will pursue this matter responsibly and with regard to the professional advice of those
seeking to establish criminal responsibility and the recovery of funds. The clear legal advice is that the section of the review considering
the circumstances of the specific incident of fraud should not be conducted until the criminal investigation has been completed.
However, the Committee will carry out a broader review into the appropriateness of financial controls relating to fraud prevention across
the States of Guernsey as soon as possible. Part of the Committee's mandate is to ensure that proper scrutiny is given to the States'
assets, expenditure and revenues to ensure that States' bodies operate to the highest standards in the management of their financial
affairs. The purpose of this review is to consider the effectiveness of financial controls in place to minimise the risk of fraud and to
provide an independent assurance that processes and procedures across the States are to an acceptable standard. The Treasury and
Resources Department is responsible for the regulation and control of States' financial affairs. Whilst we have received assurances from
the Minister of the Treasury and Resources Department that controls have changed, we must have independent validation that they are
now fit for purpose. It is imperative that the public are assured, and those outside this Island are in no doubt, that the States of Guernsey
are not 'open to fraud'.
In publishing the terms of reference, we also announced that we would be commissioning external reviewers to undertake both stages of
the review. I have made very clear my views on the use of external consultants and my desire that the Public Accounts Committee
undertakes an increasing number of reviews in-house. At this early stage of the current Committee's existence we simply do not have the
resources or expertise available to undertake this review. This is why the Committee has an existing budget available for 'contracted out
work' which this review is expected to fall within.
Click here to read more>>
|Click map for
|Click flag for Country
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Queen since 6 February 1952
Air Marshal Peter Walker
Lieutenant Governor since 28 15 April 2011
Bailiff since 23 March 2012