States of Guernsey

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The States of Guernsey refers to the island’s government, comprising:

  • States of Deliberation – the parliamentary assembly that makes island’s laws
  • Policy Council
  • States Committees
  • Civil Service – the body of employees that implement States policies and deliver services to the island
  • The Bailiff and the First Minister

The States work with the Royal Court, which enforces the laws, and the Douzaines of each parish, who are responsible for Parish Administration.

States of Deliberation

It is this parliamentary assembly, consisting of the Deputies, as the islanders’ elected representatives, that is usually referred to as ‘the States’.

It is responsible for debates, making policies, passing laws and raising taxes.

  • Presiding Officer – The Bailiff (or Deputy Bailiff)
  • Crown Officers - HM Procureur and HM Comptroller
  • 45 People’s Deputies
    • St Peter Port North - 7
    • St Peter Port South - 6
    • St Sampsons - 6
    • Vale - 7
    • Castel - 7
    • West - St Saviours, St Pierre du Bois, Torteval, Forest - 6
    • South-East - St Martins and St Andrews - 6
    • 2 Representatives of the States of Alderney

The Presiding Officer attends to moderate the meeting, but has no casting vote. The Crown Officers attend in an advisory capacity to answer legal or constitutional questions. The Lieut-Governor normally attends, but has no vote and rarely addresses the assembly.

States Meetings

The States normally meets 12 times a year. The agenda and papers are collectively known as Billet d’Etat. The Actes des Etats provides a record of the laws passed, and the Receuil d'Ordonnances records other ordinances, decisions and resolutions made by the assembly.

History and Development

The States was first referred to by name (Les Etats) in 1538, but there is evidence that an elected body was already in existence in 1441. However, it was not to acquire full law-making powers until the mid-nineteenth century. Following the Liberation of the island from German Occupation, a wide-ranging review of the islands’ constitution was carried out, resulting in 1948 Reform Law, which resulted in increased democratic representation: Jurats and Rectors were no longer part of the States of Deliberation. To replace them, twelve Conseillers were elected with a six year term of office, but they have subsequently been replaced by extra Deputies.


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