Use of the term Government of Jersey (FOI)
Use of the term Government of Jersey (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 07 February 2019.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Please can you provide clarity on the current policy of usage for the term 'Government of Jersey' vs the term 'States of Jersey'. What are the appropriate circumstances for the current usage of both of these terms?
Please could you also provide me with the date on which the official use of the term 'Government of Jersey' began?
In addition to this, can you also provide details of any policy decisions made regarding changes in the usage of this term since that date (including dates and the detail of the change of usage) and any communication of these changes (internal and / or external).
The States of Jersey
The terms ‘States of Jersey’ or ‘States’ are used extensively, although these terms are not defined in the Interpretation (Jersey) Law 1954. The States of Jersey Law 2005 describes the ‘States’ as the elected Members and the ex-officio Members of the Assembly.
This interchangeable use of the terms ‘States’ and ‘Assembly’ can be traced back at least as far as the Code of 1771, as the extract below from a recital of the Code illustrates below (with underlined emphasis added).
"And His Majesty doth hereby Order that no Laws or Ordinances whatsoever, which may be made provisionally or in view of being afterwards assented to by His Majesty in Council, Shall be passed but by the whole Assembly of the States of the said Island; And with respect to such provisional Laws and Ordinances so passed by them, that none shall be put or remain in force for any time longer than three years, but that the same, upon its being represented by the States to His Majesty, that Such Laws and Ordinances are found by experience to be useful and expedient to be continued, Shall, having first obtained His Majesty’s Royal assent, and not till then, be inserted and become part of the Code of the Political Laws of the Said Island; And His Majesty doth further Order, That when any thing is proposed to the Assembly of the States, it Shall be wrote down in the Form in which it is meant to be passed, and there Shall be debated; after which it Shall be lodged au Greffe for 14 Days at least before it Shall be determined, in order that every individual of the States may have full time to consider thereof, and the Constables to consult their Constituents if they judge necessary; and that this Delay be only dispensed with in case of Emergency, in which the Safety of the Island may happen to be immediately concerned".
The Government of Jersey
Within the context of the classic three branches of government – the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary – the norm is for the Executive to be referred to as ‘The Government’.
This is also the international norm, as reflected in treaties and other inter-governmental instruments, where it is usual for each party to be referred to as ‘the Government of…’
It is also usual for all the branches of government to each adopt their own separate identities. Such identities are in place in Jersey for each of the other branches of government.
The States of Jersey Law 2005 established Ministerial government, with a Council of Ministers (the Executive) to whom government departments were accountable. This created a legal separation of the government from the States of Jersey and the States Assembly. However, the government continued to use the identity of the States of Jersey.
On July 2014, the Council of Ministers approved the adoption of the Government of Jersey identity for business cards, formal correspondence by members of the Executive, and especially for use overseas, and adopted an identity which was approved by the College of Arms and the Garter King of Arms, with the crest from the Jersey Flag.
In March 2018, in the P.1 Machinery of Government proposition, the States Assembly decided in favour of replacing the multiple and separate Ministerial offices currently enshrined in Jersey Law with a single legal entity to be called 'the Government of Jersey'.
On 6 February 2019, the Council of Ministers formally agreed to adopt the ‘Government of Jersey’ identity for the government (in English and Jèrriais), completing the separation of identity from the States Assembly that began in 2005. This decision was publicly communicated on 7 February 2019.
With this decision, the term ‘States of Jersey’ will now, properly, be used exclusively to designate the Legislature (the States Assembly) and the term ‘Government of Jersey’ will be used for the Executive and government departments.