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States Members' legal powers of (FOI)

States Members' legal powers of (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey on behalf of the States Greffe and published on 22 July 2019.
Prepared internally, no external costs.


Further to Freedom of Information Request 'Legal powers of States Members' published at the following link:

Legal powers of States Members (FOI)

It is stated that questions can be put to the Minister for Home Affairs on general policing matters and to the Attorney General on general matters to do with the prosecution service.

However it would appear from Hansard that Deputy Mike Higgins has a tendency to indeed submit oral questions of a general nature to the Minister for Home Affairs on Policing issues to begin with. But Deputy Mike Higgins will swiftly raise supplementary questions on the same general subject but will then refer to an ongoing live Police operational matter causing annoyance for the Minister being asked.

I therefore ask what Legal Powers a States Member such as Deputy Mike Higgins has to be allowed to raise supplementary questions of the Minister of Home Affairs on any ongoing Police operational matter within the States Assembly? Bearing in mind that such meddling could jeopardise an ongoing investigation, cause annoyance for the parties involved, and at the same time it raises concerns about the Separation of Powers actually being adhered to within the States of Jersey Assembly by Deputies such as Mike Higgins?


As stated in the response to Freedom of Information Request 'Legal powers of States Members', States members must work within the provisions of Standing Orders and adhere to the Code of Conduct for Elected members.

Standing Order 63 deals with the submission of supplementary questions and for clarity the relevant extract is produced below:

63 Questions with notice to be answered orally

(1) Up to 2 hours shall be allowed during a meeting for questions of which notice has been given to be asked and answered.[58]

(2) If the order in which the questions are to be asked has been altered after the order was distributed to members of the States, the presiding officer shall inform the States of the alteration.

(3) The presiding officer shall invite a member to ask his or her question in turn.

(4) Any member of the States may, within the time allowed by the presiding officer for the purpose, ask one or more supplementary questions relating to the subject matter of the question.

(5) The presiding officer shall give the member who asked the original question the opportunity to ask at least one supplementary question.

(6) The presiding officer shall rule a supplementary question out of order if –

(a) the contents of the questions contravene standing orders; or

(b) the question is not concise.

(7) When a member of the States is asked a question or a supplementary question –

(a) the member must answer it concisely;

(b) the member’s response must be directly relevant to the question asked (or supplementary question, as the case may be); and

(c) the member may supply to members supporting or illustrative written material that is relevant to the answer.

The Presiding Officer must therefore allow the member who asked the original question the opportunity of asking at least one supplementary question, but can rule that question out of order if it contravenes Standing Orders.

This response has been issued on behalf of the States Greffe. The States Greffe is responsible for the information held by (and on behalf of) both itself and the States Assembly. Neither the States Assembly nor the States Greffe form part of the Government of Jersey and the Government was not involved either in the examination and retrieval of any information required for this response, nor in the drafting of the response itself.

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