The Treaties and Conventions area of
www.jerseylaw.je is work in progress. Some existing conventions are still being checked and will be loaded in due course together with new International instruments extended to Jersey.
The Bailiwick of Jersey is a Crown Dependency with its own autonomous parliament and judicial system. Her Majesty in Council has ultimate responsibility for the good government, defence and international representation of Jersey.
Jersey is able to enter into international instruments its own right only in limited circumstances under letters of entrustment from the United Kingdom. Therefore, for the majority of international Treaties and underlying Protocols which Jersey wishes to enter into, ratification is only possible if the UK is ratifying or has previously ratified a Treaty or Protocol, and such ratification has been extended, at the request of the Government of Jersey, to include Jersey.
Historically, there was a presumption that the UK's ratification of international instruments included the Crown Dependencies unless the contrary was expressed. However, the presumption was displaced on 16th October 1950 by Foreign Office Circular No. 118, known informally as the "Bevin Declaration" after Ernest Bevin, the Foreign Secretary at the time, who signed it. The Circular which was despatched to Sovereign States all around the world set out that, "it would be more consistent with the constitutional position of [the Crown Dependencies] to regard them for international purposes as not forming part of the United Kingdom". Thus, where the UK has ratified an international instrument subsequent to 16th October 1950, it would not have included the Crown Dependencies unless they were expressly included (individually or collectively) in the relevant instrument. Thus, despite a mistaken assumption in the 1960s and early 1970s that certain practices contradicted this position, Treaties post-1950 are deemed to have only been extended to Jersey if Jersey was expressly included at the time of ratification or later by virtue of a Territorial Application declaration.
Nevertheless, this general rule remains complicated by the advent of "silent Treaties" which did not have the provision for Sovereign States to extend ratification to territories for whose international relations they are responsible. Despite this, the practice has continued that the UK will specify whether it is ratifying on its own behalf or also on the behalf of the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. Accordingly, this has been recognised by the UN as constituting a "different intention" to the default position in the Vienna Convention where all Treaties are deemed to be binding upon parties in respect of their entire territories.
Using evidence gathered by the Chief Minister's Department (International Relations), the Law Officers' Department has analysed whether or not existing Treaties apply or have been extended to Jersey by considering the evidence in light of the principles set out above. Where conclusions on application can be reached, the results are set out here for general information but are for reference only and should not be relied upon as legal advice as to the applicability or otherwise of any international instrument to Jersey.
Accordingly, no warranty is given as to the reliability of the conclusions within and therefore no liability is, or can be, accepted for any loss arising from any reliability placed upon them. Independent legal advice should always be sought by any person seeking to rely on any conclusion as to a Treaty's applicability or otherwise.
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