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Jurats - More Information

Jurats of the Guernsey Royal Court - More detailed information


The sixteen Jurats are assigned to four 'quarters' (calendar quarters) with four Jurats in each Quarter.

A newly-elected Jurat will generally join the quarter of the Jurat whose retirement gave rise to his or her election. However, transfers between quarters can be made.

Contracts Court and Ordinary Court

During the quarter to which they are assigned the Jurats concerned (the Jurats of the Quarter) are expected to attend Contracts Court on Tuesdays and Thursdays together with any other business dealt with immediately following Contracts Court. (Licence applications on Tuesdays and Guardianships on Thursdays.) Contracts Court commences at 09.30 and is generally finished by 10.15.

Three of the Jurats of the Quarter will also be asked to attend Ordinary Court, which is held at 10.15 following Contracts Court, generally once a month.

There is generally a relatively modest amount of reading required in preparation for any licence or guardianship applications. The amount of reading required in advance of Ordinary Court will generally be greater and can take up to six hours.

Civil cases

The Jurats of the Quarter are the first to be allocated to any civil case requiring Jurats. A minimum of two, but generally three, Jurats are required for such cases.

In practice there are comparatively few such cases. However, civil cases may last up to a month and can require significant advance reading and subsequent involvement in commenting on the judgement.

Criminal cases and sentencings

Jurats of the Quarter not allocated to a civil case (or where applicable Ordinary Court) will be allocated to any criminal case being tried or sentencings being passed during their quarter.

However, criminal cases tried, and sentencings passed, by the Royal Court require a minimum of seven, but in practice generally nine Jurats. This means that Jurats of other quarters are also required to sit. Jurats are assigned on a rotational basis with Jurats being either second, third or fourth call depending on to which quarter they are assigned and on the month concerned.

Criminal cases generally last up to two weeks. In exceptional instances they can take longer. A relatively modest amount of reading is generally required in preparation for such cases. The Royal Court generally tries about [fifteen] criminal cases in a year.

Defendants found guilty in the Royal Court or who have pleaded guilty to an offence whose gravity exceeds the sentencing powers of the Magistrates Court are sentenced by the Jurats sitting together with a Judge. Jurats who sat on a criminal trial where the defendant was convicted will generally sit on the associated sentencing. In those instances where the defendant has pleaded guilty, Jurats are allocated to sentencings in the same way as for criminal trials.

Typically the Royal Court is required to pass sentence about forty times a year.

Commissioners' hearings

Guernsey law provides for the appointment of a Jurat in various types of insolvency proceedings. In this instance the Jurat concerned will preside over the hearing, with the assistance of one of the Deputy-Greffiers.

Guidance is given by one of the other Jurats to any Jurat acting as a commissioner for the first time.

Jurats typically act a Commissioner about once a year.


There is not a standardised programme of training for new or existing Jurats. However, the Lieutenant-Bailiff in charge of each quarter provides an induction briefing to a newly elected Jurat joining the quarter concerned.

Training is also carried out on an ad-hoc basis for all Jurats and there are also meetings with Jurats from the other Channel Islands.


There is no limit on the amount of holiday that a Jurat can take. However, the ability of a Jurat to be absent from the Court is dependent on there being adequate other Jurats available to cover the work of the Royal Court that requires the involvement of a Jurat. In the event of a difficulty priority is given to those on fourth call and so on.

However, in practice just about all absences can be accommodated because in addition to the sixteen Jurats there are also Jurés-Justiciers Suppléants available.

The work of the Royal Court is generally scheduled at least two months in advance.


There no qualifications required in order to act as a Jurat, and Jurats are drawn from a wide cross-section of the Island Community.

Other than the requirement for any Jurat elected after 2008 to retire at the age of 72, there is no age limit imposed on those who can act as a Jurat. However, the role is likely to appeal to those who do not have an existing full time commitment.

Any adult resident in Guernsey who is interested in standing for election as a Jurat should, in the first instance, contact the Bailiff's office.