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The Court of Chief Pleas

The Court of Chief Pleas is an ancient Court and is constituted in the same way as a Full Court.  Nowadays it will typically sit only once per year. It is attended by the Full Court, the Law Officers of the Crown, Advocates and the Seigneurs and Bordiers owing suit to the Court.

In recent times it has become a Court dealing largely with ceremonial matters and sits at the start of the Legal Year.  Speeches are made by the Bailiff and H.M. Procureur.  The Court of Chief Pleas is held annually after Michaelmas and consists of the Bailiff sitting with a full Bench of sixteen Jurats.  This Court is usually attended by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.  It is at this Court that a full roll call is made of all members of the Guernsey Bar, together with Parish Constables and Seigneurs. The business of this Court, other than the roll call, mainly comprises of the following:-

  • Report regarding Charitable Funds administered by the Royal Court
  • Report of Commissioner regarding Interception of Communications
  • Report/recommendations for the renewal of Salle Publique Licences
  • Report/recommendations for the renewal of Explosives Licences
  • Constables' reports regarding the state of quarries within their Parishes
  • Constables' reports regarding the state of the streams and water courses within their Parishes
  • The opportunity may also be taken to admit to the Guernsey Bar qualified students.


The Court is followed by a Service at the Town Church to mark the start of the legal year and in the evening a traditional dinner is held, hosted by Her Majesty's Receiver General for Members of the Royal Court, Officers of the Court, Senior Constables and Seigneurs.