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  1. ITV Report

Jersey Bailiff rejects calls to remove dual role after Care Inquiry report

Jersey Bailiff rejects calls to remove dual role Credit: States of Jersey

Jersey's Bailiff says he "absolutely" rejects some suggestions put forward by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.

Sir William Bailhache rejects suggestions of a lack of fairness and transparency in his decision-taking with regards to historic child abuse.

The recent report by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry panel recommended removing the Bailiff's dual role, suggesting that the two roles "need attention".

In Jersey, the Bailiff holds the dual role of being chief judge and speaker of the States Assembly. This means that he is both head of political proceedings and also head of legal proceedings.

In the past, the dual role has been criticised as some believe that these legal and political positions should be separate.

Her [Frances Oldham QC] linkage of the allegations of the lack of fairness and transparency in decision taking, by the Bailiff, to historic child abuse was a grave error. I reject that link linkage, and the underlying assumptions absolutely. The inquiry has no basis for saying it and it is not true.

– Sir William Bailhache

Today's speech by Sir William Bailhache was during his last sitting in the States Assembly.

There are respectable arguments that can be advanced for changing the present role of the Bailiff, not that I agree with them, but this one, is not.

– Sir William Bailhache

Earlier this year, Senator Sam Mézec had brought forward the proposition to remove the Bailiff as speaker in the States Assembly in favour of an elected speaker. This proposal was withdrawn due to a ‘lack of enthusiasm’.