How Laws are Made

How are Guernsey laws made?

In Guernsey there are two kinds of laws:

  • Customary laws
    which develop and evolve through custom and practice
  • Statutory laws
    which is passed and set by the States of Guernsey

The steps for making a new law are:

A States’ Committee will identify the need for a new law or amendments to an existing law. The civil servants who serve that Committee will carry out research and present their findings to the Committee. A policy letter will be constructed explaining the need for what is being proposed. Normally the policy letter will be written by civil servants as instructed by the Committee.

Once approved by the Committee, the policy letter is published, circulated to all States’ members and included in a Billet d’État – the agenda – for a future States’ meeting.

At this meeting, the President of the Committee, which is proposing the new or amended law, will explain why to the other States’ members.


The States Members will all have a chance to comment on and debate the new law.

In September 2022 simultaneous electronic voting went live in the Chamber. When it’s time for the deputies to make a decision during a States meeting, members are prompted to vote on their devices ‘pour’ (for) or ‘contre’ (against) introducing the new law, or they can say ‘Je ne vote pas’ (I am not voting). The results of the vote are then displayed to the Greffier and the Presiding Officer to be verbally declared. The full results will then be published on

If most of the States Members want the new law, then the Law Officers get to work on writing it. There are two different ways they can do this:

  • They write it as a Projet de Loi. Once the States and the Privy Council in the UK have approved the law, it then becomes known as an Order in Council
  • Alternatively, it is written as an Ordinance. The Privy Council does not need to approve these laws. However, this type of law cannot introduce new taxes or change any existing laws


  • For an Order in Council the Bailiff asks the Crown to approve it. Once this has happened, the Royal Court registers the new law
  • If it is an Ordinance, only the States need to approve it


The new law is now ready to be used