Jersey Knowledge Centre
Jersey has its own distinct characteristics, based on its status as a British Crown Dependency that geographically is much closer to France than to Britain. Some of these characteristics are well documented, but others are not. There is also a lack of basic information is a readily accessible form.
This series of papers aims to meet the need for such information. The papers are brief, no more than 6,000 words, stand-alone and include references and sources of further information. It is hoped that they will be useful to those who need to study aspects of Jersey and more generally as a source of information. The papers will be regularly updated and other papers will be added to the series.
40 people who have shaped the Island
By any standards Jersey has been a remarkably successful island, punching well above its weight internationally and producing a level of prosperity matched by few other small communities. Jersey’s success is a combination of circumstances and people. This paper identifies 40 people who over the centuries have helped to make Jersey what it is today.
Jersey in Brief
Jersey is a British Crown Dependency, a status also held by Guernsey and the Isle of Man. It is fully responsible for its own internal affairs and also has responsibility for international relations, within a framework agreed with the UK government. It is not part of the United Kingdom. However, Jersey has the same status as the UK in respect of qualification for British citizenship and in respect of rights of Jersey people in the UK and abroad.
Jersey has its own distinct economy, quite different from that of the United Kingdom. The nature of its economy reflects Jersey being an island and also a British Crown Dependency with substantial freedom to make its own laws particularly in respect of taxation.
Jersey is not a sovereign state, wholly responsible for its own affairs. Rather, it is a British Crown Dependency, with the British Government able to exercise powers over the Island. In practice, Jersey is responsible for its own internal affairs and also for international relations, within a framework agreed with the British Government.
Jersey has its own distinctive history, heavily influenced by two factors. The first is its island nature with distinct boundaries and some distance from the nearest land. The second, and more important, is that since the 14th century Jersey has been a British crown possession but geographically part of France and for most of that period Britain and France were either at war or in a state of tension.
Jersey's Legal System
Jersey has its own legal system, embracing aspects of Norman law and structures, a fairly standard approach to drafting laws and a court system which has some similarities to that of England but also its own characteristics, in particular a Royal Court and the use of jurats rather than juries.
Jersey's National Anthem
Jersey has no agreed national anthem and the issue of whether there should be one and, if so, what it should be has proved to be politically controversial, reflecting wider issues in the Island.
Jersey's Natural Environment
Jersey’s natural environment is one of its principal assets. The combination of location, outstanding natural beauty, fertile soil and an equable climate have facilitated a strong economy and an attractive place in which to live and to work.
Jersey is divided into 12 parishes: Grouville, St Brelade, St Clement, St Helier, St John, St Lawrence, St Martin, St Mary, St Ouen, St Peter, St Saviour and Trinity. They are an integral part of Jersey’s heritage and its society today.
Jersey's Political System
Jersey is a British Crown Dependency, fully responsible for its own internal affairs and with considerable responsibility for external relations. It is a parliamentary democracy with a single chamber Parliament, the States Assembly, and a Government comprising a Council of Ministers selected from and by the Assembly. This paper explains Jersey’s political system and puts it in the context of political systems generally.
The Island of Jersey, 118 square kilometres, currently has a population of about 103,000, and since 1950 has experienced a rapid rate of population growth. The size of Jersey’s population and immigration have been on the political agenda in the Island for well over 100 years. This is not surprising, as there have been high rates of migration into and out of the Island.
Jersey's Public Finances
Jersey’s status as a British Crown Dependency means that it is financially independent. It needs to raise revenue through taxation, levies and charges sufficient to finance Government expenditure.
Jersey's Public Services
Jersey has its own education, health, police, transport, utilities and other public services. These differ in material respects from those of the UK but are run in such a way as to be compatible.
Jersey's energy market
Of total energy consumed in Jersey, 58% is provided by oil, 38% by electricity and 3% by gas. Oil is the major fuel for vehicles and heating. Electricity is imported from France through three undersea cables and is either nuclear or hydro in origin. Domestic users account for 38% of energy use, road transport for 26%, industry and government for 27% and air and marine for 9%. This paper explains the supply and use of energy in Jersey and the measures being taken to reduce the use of fossil fuels.