States to debate Bailiff’s dual role

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In September, Chief Minister Ian Gorst lodged a proposition calling for an elected Speaker to preside over States sittings instead of the Bailiff.

If approved, the proposition would remove the Bailiff from the States, bringing an end to the dual role as president of the States and the head of the judiciary.

The Bailiff’s position has been under increased scrutiny following recommendations made by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry in the summer to reconsider two reports – the Clothier and Carswell reviews – which both called for an end to the dual role.

If approved, the proposals would come into force in time for the next election in May.

However, several amendments have been put forward, including one to hold a referendum on the matter.

In his amendment, External Relations Minister Philip Bailhache – who is a former Bailiff and brother of the current Bailiff – said that the matter should be a decision for the people of Jersey, as it is a constitutional, and not a political, matter.

He instead suggest that the role of the Bailiff be the subject of a referendum to be held on polling day next May.

Meanwhile, the Privileges and Procedures Committee want the introduction of an elected speaker postponed until 2019, rather than immediately after the next general election in May, as they say they need more time to bring forward the required legislation, if the Bailiff is replaced.

Meanwhile, proposals to change the marriage laws to make provisions for same-sex marriage to be legalised are also due to be debated.

Members have previously approved the principle of same-sex marriage. However, there have been several delays during the law drafting stage.

The Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel has already indicated that it wishes to call the legislation in should it be approved for review. This is due to concerns about the wording and typographical errors in the original proposals which have had lead to a string of amendments.

And, in what is likely to be a lengthy States sitting, Members are due to debate whether to split JT into two separate entities.

Senator Sarah Ferguson has called for the States-owned telecoms company to be restructured and divided into a retail and a wholesale/infrastructure body. She has lodged a proposition calling on Treasury Minister Alan Maclean, who acts as shareholder representative for the company, to split the organisation.

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