Friday 31 March 2023
Guernsey, Alderney and Sark's parliaments are soon to consider whether to change the process for granting Royal Assent to Projets de Loi made within the Bailiwick. A Policy Letter sets out the proposals following recommendations made by Guernsey's Constitutional and Investigation Committee in 2016 and subsequent Resolutions made by the States of Deliberation. Guernsey's Policy & Resources Committee and Alderney and Sark's Policy & Finance Committees have agreed to recommend the changed process.
Currently, all Bailiwick* Projets are approved by the Sovereign providing Assent acting through the Privy Council. The change, based on a process that has operated in the Isle of Man for more than 40 years, will enable the ratification of Projets by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor (unless the Projet is specifically reserved for His Majesty The King's Assent. This could include Projets involving defence or the Royal Prerogative).
The new procedure should result in faster processing of Bailiwick Projets, which would no longer be reliant on set schedules for Privy Council meetings. There would be no change to how Projets are debated or approved by the Bailiwick parliaments themselves nor to the registration of legislation in the Royal Court.
If the three parliaments agree with the recommendations, an Order in Council will need to be made by the Privy Council. Then the actual change in procedure should be implemented later this year.
The Policy Letter provides updates on other constitutional matters too, including the recent change to the number of Counsellors of State who can act in The King's absence.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, President of the Policy & Resources Committee said
"The approval of Projets in the Bailiwick is a constitutional change which underlines the islands' domestic autonomy. It is an important step in further developing our international identity, this was an area identified by the assembly in 2016 which is now delivered following close working with the UK Government and the Privy Council."
Nigel Vooght, Chair of Alderney Policy & Finance Committee said
"This work has progressed successfully due to the close collaboration between the islands in developing a modernised process tailored for the Bailiwick. It is particularly fitting that this change comes in the same year as the Coronation of King Charles III, marking a new chapter in the Monarchy, the Bailiwick having reasserted our allegiance to the Crown during the accession last September."
Conseiller John Guille, Chair of Sark's Policy & Finance Committee said
"The faster process and more convenient deadlines should better suit Bailiwick legislative priorities, particularly when urgent Projets need to be approved. This helps assert Sark's status as a self-governing jurisdiction and to promote our own constitutional resilience."
*Projets made in Guernsey, Alderney or Sark or any combination of those jurisdictions.