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Government of Jersey

The Government of the Bailiwick of Jersey, the nation being a crown dependency of the United Kingdom, is composed of the Queen of the United Kingdom, the Lieutenant Governor, the Bailiff, the Assembly of States and various other bodies and officers. The Bailiwick uses an unwritten constitution, but a 1966 statute known as the States of Jersey Law outlines the general procedures of government.A piece of legislation passed by the States is known simply as a 'Law', from the Norman French loi, not as an 'Act' as in the UK.

The Queen as head of state appoints the Lieutenant Governor, who serves as the Queen's representative and as commander of the Armed Forces, for such a term as she pleases. The Lieutenant Governor serves a ceremonial role. The Queen also appoints the Bailiff to a term that expires approximately when the Bailiff attains the age of seventy years. A Deputy Bailiff is also appointed to a similar term.

The legislative power of the Bailiwick rests with the Assembly of the States, of which the Bailiff is the President, or presiding officer. However, the Bailiff may cast no vote except for the casting, or tie-breaking, vote. In the absence of the Bailiff, the Deputy Bailiff or an individual chosen by the Assembly presides.

The traditionally non-partisan Assembly's voting members include Senators, Deputies, and Connétables,. Twelve Senators are chosen by the whole Bailiwick for six-year terms; terms are staggered so that six senators are chosen every three years. Additionally, each of twenty-nine electoral districts in the Bailiwick chooses one Deputy for a three-year term. Finally, each of the Bailiwick's twelve parishes (which function both as Church parishes and as local government divisions) elects one Connétable. The Connétable is actually the head of the parish who sits ex-officio in the Assembly; he is not directly elected to the Assembly. Connétables also serve three-year terms.

In addition to voting members, the Assembly also includes three members who may speak but not vote. The Attorney General and Solicitor General are appointed by the Queen as officers of the state and serve in the Assembly ex-officio. Also, the Dean of Jersey, the senior Jersey clergyman of the Church of England, has a seat in the Assembly ex-officio. Additionally, despite not being a member of the Assembly, the Lieutenant Governor may address the body, but usually does so only on taking and leaving office.

The Assembly's passage of a law is generally not subject to any veto. However, any law that concerns the "special interest" of the Queen may be vetoed by the Lieutenant Governor. Additionally, if he feels that the Assembly does not have the authority to pass a law, the Bailiff may declare his dissent to that law. The bill is then submitted to the Queen, and has no effect until her consent is obtained.

Responsibility for government departments are exercised by a Presidents of Committees. However, there are plans to change this to a ministerial form of government, with a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister, responsible to the States. The States would no longer be composed of Deputies and Senators with different mandates- each 'Member of the States' (MS) would instead represent a local constituency.