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Stay of execution for top judge

Stay of execution for top judge

Thursday 01 May 2014

Stay of execution for top judge

After spending a whole day talking about kicking the Bailiff out of the States, politicians have finally reached a big decision: they’re not going to do anything... for now at least.

St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft took a proposition to the States asking for them to back a UK-style elected “Speaker of the House” instead of the centuries-old tradition of giving the job to the Island’s top judge.

That reform had been proposed by the Clothier report in 2000 and the more recent Carswell report in 2010, and it had the backing of Chief Minister Ian Gorst. But after States Members agreed a proviso that any change should have to go the public in a referendum at the same time as Islanders go to the polls on election day in October, they got ground down in practical problems.

In the end, just five Members supported the proposal, with four abstentions (including Constable Crowcroft himself) and 41 voting against.

But Mr Crowcroft was upbeat, and said that he expected the change to go through at some point in the not-too-distant future.

“There were several pledges given that the matter would be looked at again,” he said.

“Quite a lot of people were worried about the effect on the Bailiff’s ceremonial role, and those who were supporting a separation of powers did not believe that the ceremonial role would suffer unduly. We did have an indication that the next Council of Ministers would look at it with a view to bringing something forward.”

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