30 March 2010
Jersey’s Chief Minister has welcomed the recommendations of a House of Commons Justice Committee report, which examines how the Ministry of Justice administers the relationship between the UK and the Crown Dependencies.
The Commons Committee, chaired by Sir Alan Beith, took written and oral evidence and visited Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, Alderney and the Isle of Man. The Committee’s report also considered the Ministry of Justice’s management of the wider relationship, including its role in the interactions between the Crown Dependencies and other Whitehall departments.
The Committee recommends that, in order to give the islands enough time to consider the impact of any new UK legislation or EU measures, the Ministry of Justice should set out clear guidelines on the need for UK Government consultation with the Crown Dependencies as early as possible.
It also suggests that the Justice Secretary should clarify, in his answers to Parliamentary Questions, whether or not he considers the issue in question falls within his constitutional responsibilities.
In addition, the Committee supports further work to strengthen the Crown Dependencies on the international stage. Its recommendations support the increasing trend for islands to enter into binding international agreements without the need for direct ratification from the UK, and they support the Island governments in exploring the setting up of representative offices in Brussels.
The Chief Minister, Senator Terry Le Sueur, said “I am pleased the Committee’s report has reflected the long standing status of the Crown Dependencies as democratic, self-governing communities with free media and open debate; and has confirmed that the power of the UK Government to intervene in insular affairs on the ground of good government could only be contemplated in the event of a fundamental breakdown in public order or of the rule of law or other extreme circumstance.
“Jersey has a good relationship with the Ministry of Justice and we value having a UK Minister with responsibility for maintaining good relations between our two governments. We have found our regular ministerial meetings to discuss matters of mutual concern to be constructive and useful, along with the regular conversations between officials in the Ministry of Justice and our own officials.
“We would be pleased to set up, as suggested, secondments of officials between Jersey and UK Government departments to increase mutual understanding.”