The Jersey Law Commission

simplifying and modernising our island’s laws

How we work

Our terms of reference

It shall be the duty of the Commission to identify aspects of Jersey law which it considers should be examined with a view to their development and reform, including in particular the elimination of anomalies, the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments, the reduction of the number of separate enactments and generally the simplification and modernisation of the law, and to those ends:

(a) to receive and consider any proposals for the reform of the law which may be made or referred to them;

(b) to prepare and submit to the Legislation Advisory Panel from time to time programmes for the examination of different branches of the law with a view to reform;

(c) to undertake, pursuant to any such recommendations approved by the Legislation Advisory Panel, the examination of particular branches of the law, such consultation thereon as the Commission shall think fit, and the formulation by means of draft bills or otherwise of proposals for such reform.

The Assembly of the States of Jersey appoints Law Commissioners for terms of five years; the role is unremunerated.

We work in consultation with the Government of Jersey (through the Chief Minister’s Department) and the States Assembly (through the Legislation Advisory Panel), but we are are an independent body whose reports are made available, unaltered, to the public.

The review process

Having identified a topic for review, one of the Law Commissioners is assigned the role of “Topic Commissioner” to conduct and co-ordinate all of the Commission’s work on that topic. On his or her recommendation, the Commission may appoint a Jersey lawyer currently practising in that field as “Topic Practitioner” to assist generally and to ensure that the work remains relevant to the issues actually arising in day-to-day practice. We sometimes also employ a research assistant.

The procedure for the review of each topic will commonly fall into the following steps:

  1. finding out whether there is a problem and if there is, defining exactly what it is
  2. researching and summarising the existing law relevant to the topic
  3. suggesting how the relevant law might be changed to solve the problem
  4. preparing and publishing a consultation paper based on items 1, 2 and 3
  5. receiving and discussing representations made in response to the consultation paper
  6. preparing and publishing a final report culminating in either a detailed brief for the Law Draftsman or in a draft law prepared in consultation with the Law Draftsman.

Responding to other organisations

We also respond, when appropriate, to consultations on law reform proposals begun by the States of Jersey and other organisations.