Over the centuries Alderney, like Guernsey, gained a substantial degree of sovereignty over its affairs. The States of Deliberation of Guernsey and the States of Alderney were two freestanding legislative assemblies entirely separate from each other save for one exception - the States of Deliberation had power to legislate for Alderney in criminal matters, just as it did for Sark, in order to maintain a single system of criminal law throughout the Bailiwick.
Matters changed substantially as a result of the German Occupation of Alderney. On 14th June 1940 Paris fell to the invading German armed forces. On 22nd June the States of Alderney was convened urgently and on 23rd June the population was evacuated save for 19 people who refused to leave. Subsequently some of the 19 encouraged by Guernsey's Procureur evacuated to Guernsey leaving only 7 islanders stubbornly refusing to leave and awaiting occupation by the German military.
When the Germans occupied Alderney it was to all intents and purposes deserted. Throughout the years of the Occupation there was no local Alderney administration or Court. Alderney was run as a military base and prison camp.
German forces heavily fortified the Island. They had a garrison of 3,000 and a workforce of 4,000. Many buildings were despoiled or destroyed as were many field boundaries. Alderney's Ordinances and court records including the record of conveyances disappeared hence evidence of land ownership and other government records were forever lost. The task of post war reconstruction and regeneration would necessarily be a difficult one and Alderney in that state was no longer an attractive island in which to live.
Following the Liberation of Alderney on 16th May 1945 the pre-war population was slow to return. A first post war States meeting was held in January 1946. By the end of 1946 less than 50% of the pre-war population had returned. Property boundaries were difficult to define. By 1947 the States of Alderney was no more than limping along with little sense of direction and no evident solutions or money to resolve the enormous problems which had to be confronted.
United Kingdom Home Secretary Chuter Ede had visited Alderney and he advocated the 'Guernseyfication' of Alderney as the only realistic solution to Alderney's unfortunate state.
In July 1947 in the absence of tangible progress a Committee of the Privy Council was appointed to enquire into the state of Alderney particularly its government, its relationship with the neighbouring Islands, its financial position, its system of land tenure and its economic prospects. The enquiry was conducted as a matter of urgency.
What emerged from the Committee's enquiry was the proposal that Guernsey would take over responsibility for Alderney's most important public services. The States of Guernsey would assume financial, legislative and administrative responsibility for Alderney's airport, health, social and educational services, police and immigration, main roads, drains and water supply. These were termed "transferred services" because responsibility for them was transferred to Guernsey. By virtue of the Alderney (Application of Legislation) Law, 1948 Guernsey acquired the right to legislate in all matters necessary to discharge the duties conferred upon it to run the transferred services. The States of Alderney agreed despite the opposition of some in Alderney, to this loss of sovereignty over a large part of its civil affairs.
In 1955 responsibility for main roads, drains and water supply was transferred back to Alderney's States. In 1974 Guernsey with Alderney's consent assumed responsibility for adoption and in 1997 child care.
A joint Guernsey Alderney Advisory Council was set up in 1949 to provide consultation and liaison between the States of the Islands. The Council lapsed by agreement in 1978. It was revived as the joint Guernsey Alderney Consultative Council to meet as and when necessary. That Council was also abolished from 6th May 2004. The Policy Council in Guernsey took over responsibility for liaison with Alderney.
The States of Guernsey (Representation of Alderney) Law, 1949 which provides for 2 States of Alderney representatives in the States of Guernsey was superseded by a 1978 Law which bears a similar name. The 2 States of Alderney representatives in the States of Deliberation have to be appointed annually. They have all the rights and privileges of Deputies to speak and vote on all matters including those not relating exclusively to Alderney and to be members of States Departments and Committees. They do not receive the same remuneration as members elected in Guernsey as set out in the Rules for Payments to States Members, Former States Members and Non-States Members of States Departments and Committees.
The composition of the States of Alderney is governed by the Government of Alderney Law, 2004 (as amended) and comprises a President plus 10 members. There is an election every four years for the President and every two years for 5 members. The elections for the President and members are held on different days. The people of Alderney on the electoral roll are entitled to vote.
Meetings are convened by the President by means of the publication of a Billet D'Etat. The Alderney Greffier is the clerk to meetings of the States of Alderney.
Each month, before every meeting of the States of Alderney, a public people's meeting is held for the purpose of informing those present of the business to be transacted at the States meeting and to give any explanation where an explanation is requested.
At two meetings of the States each year a person who is on the register of electors may personally bring before the States any matter of public interest which he or she has requested should be considered after giving 5 clear days notice.
Under the 2004 Government of Alderney Law the President of Alderney ranks after a member of the Royal Family (or a person directly representing the Sovereign), His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor (or a person directly representing him) and the Bailiff of Guernsey.