The Full Court
The Full Court, historically known as the Cour en Corps, is constituted by:
• a single Judge of law, this being either the Bailiff, the Deputy Bailiff, a Judge of the Royal Court or a Lieutenant Bailiff; and,
• not fewer than seven Jurats acting as Judges of fact.
Criminal Jurisdiction of the Full Court
The Full Court has original criminal jurisdiction in respect of indictable offences committed anywhere in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, with the exception of treason and assault committed on the Bailiff or Jurats whilst they are discharging their judicial duties.
If the verdict in a case is to be determined on a point of law, then that is a matter for the presiding Judge. If the verdict is to be determined on the facts of a case, then this is a matter for the Jurats alone.
The Full Court also has jurisdiction in other cases considered by the Magistrate's Court to be beyond its judicial competence and in other types of cases where legislation provides for them to be heard before the Full Court, such as the confiscation of the proceeds of crime.
Essentially, the Full Court deals with serious criminal offences that attract heavy fines of more than £20,000 or imprisonment for a period of more than two years.
The Full Court also hears appeals of cases from the Magistrate's Court and appeals against convictions or sentences in cases heard by courts in Alderney or Sark.
Civil Jurisdiction of the Full Court
The Court deals with all original civil business beyond the legal competence of the Magistrate's Court (which can only deal with monetary claims of £10,000 or less) and a range of contentious issues. The types of matters vary considerably from simple claims for a sum of money to complex and high value trust and commercial litigation.
The fees for a civil trial are set by the Royal Court (Costs and Fees) (amendment) Rules, 2016. Some fees are charged on an hourly basis and the charge per hour will vary according to the size and value of the claim and/or the applicable law under which the claim has been brought.
The procedures for civil trials are set out in the Royal Court Civil Rules, 2007 (as amended), and in accordance with various Practice Directions made from time to time by the Royal Court. All relevant Royal Court Practice Directions can be found at www.guernseylegalresources.gg
The civil jurisdiction of the Full Court extends to a number of activities, including:
• the swearing in of Advocates and other officials
• consideration of Salle Publique licence applications
• consideration of applications for sand racing meetings
• consideration of applications regarding new cemeteries
• applications by the Crown to take possession of properties
• applications to amend the General Register of Births and Deaths.
The Full Court is also responsible for the registration of new legislation and also deals with some administrative appeals where legislation so provides, for example appeals from Tribunals dealing with matters of tax, employment and social security.