Other Sites
Contact Us

Email: international@gov.je

Tel: 00 44 (0)1534 603405
Fax: 00 44 (0)1534 870755

Profile of Jersey

Jersey Flag


Full name:      Bailiwick of Jersey

Geographical Location of the Channel Islands

Location of Jersey in relation to Europe

Area 118 sq km
Population 87,500 (estimated from 2001 census)
Capital Saint Helier
People Jersey 50%
British 35%
Portuguese/Madeiran 6%
Irish, French and other European 6%
Other non-European 3%
Languages Predominantly English
Currency British pound sterling/Jersey currency of identical value
Government Parliamentary democracy
Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache
Chief Minister Senator Frank Walker

Historical and geographical background

The Channel Islands were part of the Duchy of Normandy when Duke William, following his conquest of England in 1066, became King William I of England.  They have since then been subject to the English Crown as successor to the Dukes of Normandy.  The Islands remained in allegiance to the King of England when continental Normandy was lost in 1204; and when, later, the ducal title was surrendered, the King of England continued to rule the Islands as though he were Duke of Normandy, observing their customs and civil liberties.  These were later confirmed by the charters of successive sovereigns, which secured for them their own judiciaries and freedom from process of English courts and other important privileges, including fiscal autonomy, which have always been respected.  Although expressed in somewhat different terms in different ages this has remained the essence of the relationship between the Islands and the English Crown to the present day.  Today, the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey is the personal representative of Her Majesty the Queen.

After the separation of the Islands from Normandy and its administration, the local institutions were gradually moulded from time to time very largely on local initiative to meet the changing circumstances until their present constitutions evolved.  The evolution did not at any time involve amalgamation with, or subjection to, the government of the United Kingdom and even today the Islands’ link with the United Kingdom and the remainder of the Commonwealth is through the Sovereign as latter-day successor of the Duke of Normandy.  The Channel Islands have never been conquered by, or ceded territories to, the UK, nor have they ever been colonies or dominions. 

For clarity it is worth pointing out that the term Great Britain refers solely to the mainland of England, Scotland and Wales, whereas United Kingdom refers to Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Neither term includes Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man which are, in fact, part of the British Isles.

External relations

Jersey is a British Crown Dependency, and its international representation and defence are ordinarily conducted by the government of the United Kingdom.   Her Majesty’s representative in Jersey is His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor. 

Jersey is not part of the European Union.  However, it has a special relationship with the European Union, and certain European legislation applies, in accordance with Protocol 3 to the 1972 Treaty of Accession under which the United Kingdom joined the European Communities.

Jersey is represented in its own right, with the other Crown Dependencies, United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland Governments, in the British-Irish Council, which was set up to foster co-operation between all the peoples of the British Isles following the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland.

The Government of Jersey 

The Island operates largely as an autonomous jurisdiction with wide powers of self-government. 

Jersey has its own Legislative Assembly, administrative, fiscal and legal systems and its own courts of law.  The States Assembly is mainly comprised of popularly elected members.

The legislature passes primary legislation, which requires approval by The Queen in Council, and enacts subordinate legislation in many areas without any requirement for Royal Sanction and under powers conferred by primary legislation.  The Island legislates for the territorial waters adjacent to it and for the airspace over its territory and over those territorial waters.

The United Kingdom Government has historically assumed responsibility for Jersey’s defence and international relations and the Crown is ultimately responsible for the Island’s ‘good government’.  The extent of this residual power has recently been described by the Ministers of the Crown in the UK as a power to intervene only in the circumstances of a grave breakdown or failure in the administration of justice or civil order. 

Since Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom or part of the European Union, it has no representation in the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster or in the European Parliament.  Islanders are not entitled to vote in UK or European elections.

Legal System

The non-statutory or customary law of the Bailiwick of Jersey derives from Norman customary law, although it has not in all respects developed in an identical fashion.  The legislation passed by the States of Jersey frequently draws on English legislation as a blueprint for enactment with such local variations as are appropriate but at different times has also drawn on developments in the Civil Code in France and on legislation adopted in France and in Commonwealth countries.

Jersey has a Royal Court, which is recognised as having a commensurate jurisdiction at least as a Crown Court in the United Kingdom for criminal matters, and as the High Court for civil matters.  It also exercises an administrative jurisdiction similar to that in the Divisional Court and receives statutory appeals from executive committees of the States.  It exercises a supervisory and an appellate jurisdiction over the Island’s lower criminal and civil courts.  Appeals from the Royal Court of Jersey lie to the Jersey Court of Appeal and therefrom to the Judicial Committees of the Privy Council.

Immigration and Nationality 

Jersey, together with the other Crown Dependencies, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, form a common travel area with immigration control at the periphery; there are no immigration controls between the United Kingdom and the Island.  Passports are issued in Jersey under authority of the Lieutenant Governor.  Such passports are distinctly headed “British Islands – Bailiwick of Jersey” to distinguish them from those issued in the United Kingdom.

Under the British Nationality Act 1981, Islanders are entitled to full British citizenship, but Islanders who are not connected with the United Kingdom or any other EU country by family or residence do not benefit from the “free movement of persons” provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Community.

Furthermore, on account of the fact that the seaports and airport serve aircraft and vessels from international origins, the Island needs to operate immigration controls on entry.


Economic data (2003 figures)

Gross value Added (GVA): £3.13 billion

Gross National Income (GNI): £2.94 billion

GNI per head of population: £34,000

States General Funds income: £440 million

States net revenue expenditure: £393 million

States income tax returns: £367 million


Principal industries:

Financial services (50% of GVA)

Other business activities (18% of GVA)

Public administration (7% of GVA)

Wholesale and retail (7% of GVA)

Construction (5% of GVA)

Tourism (4% of GVA)


Jersey is internally self-supporting and neither receives subsidies from, nor pays contributions to, the United Kingdom or the European Union.

The public revenues of the Island are raised by income tax, by duties paid on certain goods and by other taxes and revenues.  The responsibility for prescribing the taxes and their rates and for determining how the revenue should be spent is solely a matter for the Island legislature.  In particular, Value Added Tax (VAT) is not charged in the Channel Islands.

Jersey also has Double Taxation Arrangements with the United Kingdom and Guernsey, which date from 1952 and 1955 respectively. 

Jersey has its own Customs and Excise (Impôts) Service and operates as a separate customs area, levying indirect taxation, and there are customs controls on the movement of goods and travellers both within the Channel Islands and between the Island, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Whilst the currency of the Island is the British pound sterling, Jersey issues its own notes and coins of similar denominations, size and weight to those issued in Britain.  This local currency is a debt backed by the Island’s general revenue investments.  The notes and coins are legal tender in the Island but not outside, where their acceptability is limited. Bank of England notes and UK Treasury coins are also legal tender in the Island and circulate alongside the locally issued currency.

The European Union

Jersey’s relationship with the EU is governed by Articles 25-27 of the Act concerning the Conditions of Accession by the United Kingdom and by Protocol 3 to the Treaty of Accession, and that position cannot be changed without the unanimous agreement of the EU Member States.

The Articles provide that the Community Treaties shall apply to the Island only to the extent described in the Protocol: the Community rules on customs matters and quantitative restrictions (including charges or measures having equivalent effect) and certain aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy.  Protocol 3 also provides for the application to the Island of the unified tariff on the European Coal and Steel Community, and certain provisions of the Euratom Treaty.

As a corollary to the non-application to the Island of the provisions for free movement of persons and services, Islanders (as defined in the Protocol) are not eligible to benefit from the free movement provisions within the Union (in other words, they may be treated there, for such purposes, as third-county nationals), although their traditional rights in that respect in the United Kingdom are unaffected.

It should be emphasised that the Island neither contributes to, nor is eligible to benefit from, European Union funds.

Although the Island is not subject to EU rules save in the limited areas outlined above, it is sometimes considered appropriate to enact domestic legislation to reflect relevant EU Directives.  For example, Jersey has its own independent Data Protection Registrar, and complies with EU rules on trans-border flow to enable the unfettered flow of personal data between the Island and the EU countries.

Post, Telecommunications and Traffic

The Island has its own postal and telecommunications services, although for convenience they are presently included in the British Post Office Postal Coding System and the British Isles integrated telephone numbering scheme.  The Island’s Postal authority has issued its own stamps since 1969 and is recognised by the Universal Postal Union as an independent postal authority.

Jersey’s government issues its own internationally recognised Driving Licences and is responsible for its own vehicle registration, employing a distinct numbering and lettering scheme entirely different from that in use in the United Kingdom.

E-Commerce and the Internet

The Island currently has an active country code Top Level Domain name (.je) and has recently been designated International Standards Organisation ISO3166 codes 'JE' and 'JEY'. The UN Statistics Division recognises the status of the Island by assigning a separate UN numerical code to Jersey (832).