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Jersey: Country and Foreign Investment

Government

The Channel Islands consist of two 'bailiwicks', Jersey and Guernsey, and there are no constitutional links as such between the two. Jersey is a British Crown dependency. The Queen of England is the head of state and represented by a lieutenant governor. The United Kingdom is responsible for its defence and external relations but by long established constitutional convention it is self-governing in matters of domestic policy. The island has its own legislative assembly, the States of Jersey, and a comprehensive independent legal, fiscal and administrative system. The power to appoint certain local administrators is vested with the Crown; and with certain minor exceptions, legislation passed by the island's assembly must be validated by the UK Privy Council - normally this is just a formality.

The States of Jersey is a unicameral, directly elected body and there are no party politics. Apart from the few senior offices in the gift of the Crown, most executive powers are administered by committees of the States. This provides for direct, effective administration, but may be short on checks and balances. However, over many years the States has aimed at creating a well-regulated, efficient financial centre with up-to-date legal, judicial and regulatory frameworks. Broadly, it seems to have succeeded: in 1998 the UK Government carried out a review of the island's financial regulatory regime with generally positive results (see next section). The Government department which previously regulated the finance sector was reborn in 1998 as the Financial Services Commission, which now operates as an independent regulatory agency. To some extent this change was a response to isolated financial scandals which had threatened the island's generally good reputation.

The island is not directly represented in the United Kingdom Parliament. By convention Parliament does not legislate for the island without its consent in matters of taxation or on local issues. The Island's assembly is consulted before any international agreement is reached which would affect it.

 

 

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