Jersey’s Legislature and Judiciary: A shared history

This story first appeared on the BBC News website.

An exhibition marking the creation of the States of Jersey debating chamber 130 years ago has opened in the island’s Royal Court building.

It explores the difficult birth of the chamber that opened on 21 June 1887, a decade after it was first proposed.

It came out of an extension to the Royal Court building that left a large space free for politicians to debate legislation.

That space was empty for 10 years while States members decided on the way it should look, what should be in it and whether it should actually be there at all.

The exhibition will be in the Royal Court building for a short time before going on a tour of parish halls in the island.

it wasn’t an easy transition to go from using a courtroom to having a dedicated debating chamber.

Assistant Greffier to the States, William Millow says using court rooms was logical as much of the membership of the States Assembly was the same as the Royal Court.

Jurats were members of both and the Bailiff presided over both.

It wasn’t until after the German occupation of the island ended in 1945 that the jurats were removed from the States Assembly, replaced with twelve senators elected by the whole island.

Whilst plans were developed and there were discussions about where the room would go, it was 10 years later before the chamber was opened and used for the first time – William Millow, Assistant Greffier
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