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The Interpretation (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2016

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The States are asked to decide:-

Whether they are of the opinion to approve the draft Projet de Loi entitled "The Interpretation (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2016", and to authorise the Bailiff to present a most humble petition to Her Majesty praying for Her Royal Sanction thereto.

This proposition has been submitted to Her Majesty's Procureur for advice on any legal or constitutional implications in accordance with Rule 4(1) of the Rules of Procedure of the States of Deliberation and their Committees.


This Law repeals the Interpretation (Guernsey) Law, 1948 ("the 1948 Law"), replaces its provisions with new provisions and makes additional provision relating to the interpretation of enactments applicable in the Bailiwick.

Part I applies the Law to every enactment made before or after the commencement of the Law, unless a contrary intention appears.

Part II comprises a number of general provisions relating to enactments.  These consist of clauses relating to, or providing for, the citation of enactments (clause 2), judicial notice of legislative instruments (clause 3), the preambles to and headings of an enactment (clause 4), Schedules and appendices to and tables and diagrammatic representations contained in enactments (clause 5), explanatory notes (clause 6) and the amendment of the arrangement of sections or other provisions of an enactment as a consequence of any amendment made to the substantive provisions (clause 7).

Part III makes provision relating to the commencement of enactments.  Clause 8 provides for when an enactment comes into force and clause 9 creates powers which may be exercised in anticipation of an enactment coming into force.   Some of the powers created by clauses 8 and 9 replace, or are similar to, powers currently exercisable under sections 17 and 18 of the 1948 Law.     

Part IV contains clauses which assist with the construction of enactments.  In particular, clause 10 provides that an enactment may be applied from time to time to the circumstances as they arise (i.e. is "always speaking") and clause 11 provides for rules as to gender and number (replacing provision currently contained in section 1 of the 1948 Law).

Part V contains the general interpretation provisions.  Clause 12 gives effect to the standard definitions set out in the Schedule to the Law and enables the Schedule to be amended by Ordinance, clause 13 provides for the application of definitions and rules of interpretation, clause 14 provides for references to the Sovereign (see section 12 of the 1948 Law) and clause 15 for references to committees and public authorities.

Part VI (clauses 16 and 17) consists of provisions relating to time and distance.  Clause 17 in effect replicates section 16 of the 1948 Law.

Part VII provides for repeals of and references to enactments.  Clause 18 (see section 19 of the 1948 Law) deals with savings where an enactment repeals another enactment and clause 19 with references to enactments that have been amended, re-enacted (with or without modification), extended or applied. In both instances the provisions do not apply where a contrary intention appears.

Part VIII contains provisions that apply in relation to Ordinances and subordinate legislation (e.g. regulations, orders etc.).  Clause 20 creates general powers that may be exercised whenever a power to make an Ordinance (whether under statute or the customary law) arises, clause 21 contains provision which ensures consultation with the relevant committees in Alderney and Sark before any Ordinance is made by the States under the Law, clause 22 saves subordinate legislation which may not have been laid before any of the Bailiwick legislatures and clause 23 creates additional powers to enable a court to make rules where an enactment confers, extends or varies the jurisdiction of the court.

Part IX comprises a number of provisions relating to statutory powers and duties.  These include clause 24 which provides for the exercise of statutory powers and the performance of duties, clause 25 which engages where an enactment authorises the appointment of a person to any office and clause 26 which engages where an enactment confers a power or imposes a duty on the holder of an office.

Part X contains a provision (clause 27) relating to offences which confirms that an offender may be liable for prosecution where an act or omission constitutes an offence under two or more enactments or both under an enactment and the common or customary law, provided that the offender is not liable to be punished more than once for the same offence.  The clause largely replicates section 15 of the 1948 Law.

Part XI relates to miscellaneous matters including the repeal of the 1948 Law and section 3(2) and (4) of the  European Communities (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1973 and section 3 of the European Economic Area (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1996 (clause 28), application of the Law to the Crown (clause 28 and see section 12 of the 1948 Law),  commencement of the Law itself by way of Ordinance (clause 30) and citation of the Law (clause 31).

The Schedule contains a number of defined terms and expressions that will apply where those terms and expressions are used in any enactment, unless a contrary intention appears.


Legislation - Interpretation (Bailiwick of Gsy) Law, 2016

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