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Bailiwick of Jersey

Jersey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy that held sway in both France and England. These islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops in World War II. Jersey is a British Crown dependency but is not part of the UK or of the EU. However, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation. Defense is the responsibility of the UK.

As is usually the case with tax havens and small, independently wealthy island states, Jersey is something of an anomaly in its surrounding political landscape. The island is a British island but is not part of the United Kingdom. The British monarch is the head of state, but it is not generally governed by the British legislature. Finally, and all importantly for any self-governing body, the Jersey parliament, known as ‘the States,’ sets its own tax levels quite independently from the British Treasury.

The island reaches its greatest elevation (nearly 500 it.) in the north, the land rising sharply from thenorth coast, anddisplaying bold and picturesque cliffs towards the sea. The east, south and west coasts consist of a succession oi large open bays, shallow and rocky, with marshy or sandy shores separated by rocky headlands. The principal bays are Greve au Lancons, Gréve de Lecq, St John's and Bouley Bays on the north coast; St Catherine's and Grouville Bays on the east; St Clement's, St Aubin‘s and St Brelade‘s Bays on the south; and St Ouen‘s Bay, the wide sweep of which occupies nearly the whole of the west coast.

The sea in many places has encroached greatly on the land, and sand driits have been iound troublesome, especially on the west coast. The surface of the country is broken by winding valleys having a general direction from north to south, and as they approacn the south uniting so as to form small plains. The lofty hedges which bound the small enclosures into which Jersey is divided, the trees and shrubberies which line the roads and cluster round the uplands and in almost every nook of the valleys unutilized for pasturage or tillage, give the island a luxuriant appearance, neutralizing the bare effect of the few sandy plains and sand-covered hills. Fruits and flowers indigenous to warm climates grow freely in the open air. The land, under careful cultivation, is rich and productive, the soil being generally a deep loam, especially in the valleys, but in the west shallow, light and sandy.

The monarchy is hereditary; Council of Ministers including the chief minister indirectly elected by the Assembly of States; lieutenant governor and bailiff appointed by the monarch. The unicameral Assembly of the States of Jersey (49 elected members; 8 senators to serve 6-year terms, and 29 deputies and 12 connetables, or heads of parishes, to serve 3-year terms; 5 non-voting members appointed by the monarch include the bailiff, lieutenant governor, dean of Jersey, attorney general, and the solicitor general).

Jersey Court of Appeal bailiffs and judges appointed by the Crown upon the advice of the Secretary of State for Justice; bailiffs and judges appointed for extent of good behavior; Royal Court bailiffs appointed by the Crown upon the advice of the Secretary of State for Justice; commissioners appointed by the bailiff; jurats appointed by the Electoral College; bailiffs and commissioners appointed for extent of good behavior; jurats appointed until retirement at age 72. There are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 12 parishes; Grouville, Saint Brelade, Saint Clement, Saint Helier, Saint John, Saint Lawrence, Saint Martin, Saint Mary, Saint Ouen, Saint Peter, Saint Saviour, and Trinity.

Jersey's economy is based on international financial services, agriculture, and tourism. In 2010, the financial services sector accounted for about 50% of the island's output. Potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, and especially flowers are important export crops, shipped mostly to the UK. The Jersey breed of dairy cattle is known worldwide and represents an important export income earner. Tourism accounts for one-quarter of GDP. Living standards come close to those of the UK. In recent years, the government has encouraged light industry to locate in Jersey with the result that an electronics industry has developed, displacing more traditional industries. All raw material and energy requirements are imported as well as a large share of Jersey's food needs. Light taxes and death duties make the island a popular tax haven. In October 2014, Jersey signed an OECD agreement to automatically exchange some financial account information to limit tax avoidance and evasion.

Jersey was traditionally viewed as being a deeply religious island. The Bailiwick of Jersey released the results of its 2015 Annual Social Survey, which asked a question on religion for the first time and found that non-religious people in Jersey account for 39% of the population – making them one of the island’s most significant social groupings. Jersey represented on the whole by two large communities: Christian and non-religious. 52% of islanders identify as Christian, 22% of islanders identify as Catholic, and 23% as Anglican. Outside Christians, handfuls of Jersey people reported Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, or Sikh identities.

Norman has been spoken in the Islands for a thousand years and, despite the fact that the archipelago has been united politically with Great Britain since 1204, until relatively recently most of the inhabitants were Francophone. Norman French remained the everyday speech for most Islanders until well into the 19th century, when growing trade and transport links led to ever-increasing contact with the British mainland and hence to progressive Anglicisation.

The evacuation of a significant number of the women and children from Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney in the days preceding the German occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War had severe linguistic repercussions, as Dr Jones explained: “A considerable proportion of the child population of each island spent the next five years, until 1945, cut off from their native tongue and immersed in the very language with which it was in competition. On their return, many had either forgotten their Channel Island Norman French or chose to continue using English. Jèrriais is now spoken by just 2,874 (3.2%) of the Jersey population.

A new population model published by the States in September 2012 showed that there could be as many as 120,000 people living in Jersey by 2035, up from around 98,000 in June 2011. Throughout the latter part of the 20th Century there was a seasonal influxes of low-wage workers, particularly from Portugal, who now form the largest group of incomers from outside the British Isles. Indeed, according to the 1991 Census, this group constituted 4% of the island’s population, rising to 6% by the time of the 2001 Census. The demographic trend that is worrying many western governments, that of an increasingly elderly, non-tax-paying population, is particularly pronounced in Jersey.

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Page last modified: 28-06-2017 18:31:26 ZULU