Historic Charters & Orders in Council

“It is a significant historical fact which profoundly influences the thinking of all informed Islanders today that their fundamental constitutional rights, liberties and privileges rest not on any Act of Parliament, but on ancient laws and customs of Normandy and Royal Charters which were granted to them by the successors of their Duke…”.  [Heyting, Dr. W. J. (1977), The Constitutional Relationship between Jersey and the United Kingdom, at p. 6]

This section contains some of the more significant Charters, and Orders in Council, given or made between the 14th and 16th Centuries, from the reign of Edward III (1327 – 1377) to the reign of Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603).  The original Latin or Anglo-Norman French text is shown in the left-hand column in each case, with a translation into English in the right-hand column.  

This area of www.jerseylaw.je is work in progress.  Some of the Charters and Orders in Council are still being translated and will be loaded in due course. 

Whilst these Charters and Orders are of course historic, they are still of legislative force, or at least relevance, in some important respects.  One finds e.g. in the preamble to the Judgements (Reciprocal Enforcement) (Jersey) Law 1960 reference [in translation] to the Charter of Elizabeth I of 27 June 1562 containing –

“. . . confirmation of all and singular the laws and customs duly and lawfully used in the Island, and also granting and confirming to the Bailiff and Jurats and all other magistrates, officers of Justice, and any other persons appointed there in any office or duty, full, absolute and complete authority touching all sorts of pleas, processes, law suits, actions, disputes and cases of any kind whatsoever arising in the Island, as well real, personal and mixed, as criminal and capital, and there and not elsewhere to plead, proceed with, prosecute and defend all these things and in the same matters either to proceed or supersede, to examine, hear, end, acquit, condemn, decide and put their sentences into execution according to the laws and customs of the Island theretofore used and approved”.

These are rights that still pertain, and hence are referred to in statute.  

The Treason (Jersey) Law 2013 refers, in the body of the Law, to the Order in Council of Henry VII of 17th June 1495: 

“So much of the Order in Council [of] 1495 and so much of any other law or custom having effect in Jersey as reserves to the Crown in Council the jurisdiction to hear and determine any charge of the crime of treason shall cease to have effect.”

This section of www.jerseylaw.je is intended to ensure that important Charters and Orders, such as these, are available to read and understand when accessing the modern day Jersey statute book.

Page Last Updated: 25 Jan 2019