Alderney is part of the Bailiwick. It has its own parliament
(of Alderney) but Guernsey has responsibility for several
transferred services, including the airport, health and social
care, children services, education and policing.

Alderney Representatives

Each year, two members of the States of Alderney are elected
to represent them in the Guernsey States of Deliberation.


A suggestion put forward as an alternative to a proposal debated by the States.



The Bailiff is the island’s Chief Judge, who presides over
meetings of the States of Deliberation and the States of
Election and represents Guernsey in non-political matters.

Bailiwick of Guernsey

The Bailiwick is made up of Guernsey, Lihou, Herm, Jethou,
Sark, Brecqhou and Alderney.

Billet d’Etat

This is the agenda for meetings of the States of
Deliberation and the States of Election. It contains all the
reports and information that will be discussed in each

British Isles

This is a geographical group, not a political one. It is
made up of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the
Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.


This is an election which is held usually when only one new
Deputy needs to be found to fill a seat, for example, if a
Member of the States resigns.


Chief Executive of the States

This is the most senior States’ officer and head of the
Civil Service.

Civil Service/Servants

Civil Servants work in the Civil Service and are employees
of the States involved in public administration.


The States carry out most of their work through committees.
Typically a committee comprises of five States’ members.

Committee President

Each States’ committee is led by a President. The President
of the Policy & Resources Committee holds the senior political
office in Guernsey. Each committee also has a Vice-President
to deputise for the President.


The Commonwealth is a group of countries around the world,
some of which were once ruled by Britain. However, these days,
it is a voluntary association of 53 member countries that
support each other and work together towards democracy and
development. The King is the head of the Commonwealth.

H.M. Comptroller

His Majesty’s Comptroller is one of the legal advisers to the Crown
and the States.

Crown Dependencies

The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man make up the Crown
Dependencies. They are not part of the United Kingdom even
though it is responsible for their defence and international



A debate is held when the States need to decide on
something. Usually, some members will want one thing and
another group will want another. At the end of a debate,
members usually vote on what to do.


Deputies are also known as ‘the People’s Deputies’. They are
elected by the people of Guernsey to be a Member of the States
of Deliberation for four years. There are 38 Deputies

Deputy Bailiff

The Deputy Bailiff presides over meetings of the States of
Deliberation when the Bailiff is unavailable.


Each parish has a Douzaine (from the French for “dozen”). In
most parishes, twelve people make up the Douzaine. They are
chosen by the people living in their parish. It is the body
responsible for civil administration in each parish. The Senior
Constable of the parish normally presides at Douzaine

Douzaine Representatives

Each Douzaine elects between 1 and 9 Douzeniers (according
to the parish’s population) to sit in the States of Election.
They are appointed on an ad hoc basis for each meeting.


Douzenier is the title given to members of the Douzaine.
There are 20 in St. Peter Port, 16 in the Vale and 12 in each
of the other parishes. They are elected by the parish electors
for terms of four years.



This is when people vote for someone to represent them.

Electoral Districts

Previously Guernsey was divided into seven electoral districts, each with about the same population. These were: St. Peter Port South, St. Peter Port North, St. Sampson, Vale, Castel, West and South East. In 2018 the system was changed and Guernsey is now no longer divided into voting districts.

Electoral Roll

This is a list of all the people who can vote at elections. Everyone over the age of 16 has the right to vote as long as they live in Guernsey (for at least two years immediately before the election or at least five years in total at any time before the election). You must first enrol on the Electoral Roll before you can vote.

European Union

Guernsey is not part of the European Union but it does have
a special relationship with it.


General Election

This is when every seat in the States is up for election.
This happens every four years.

Great Britain

Great Britain is made up of England, Scotland and Wales.
Guernsey is not part of Great Britain.

H.M. Greffier

His Majesty’s Greffier oversees the administration of all
legal proceedings in Guernsey. This could be from making
a record of judgments passed in court to registering births,
deaths and marriages.



This is a meeting which takes place before an election. It
gives the public a chance to hear what the candidates have to
say and to ask them questions.



The Jurats act as a jury, and are judges of fact in both civil and criminal cases.



Legislation is another word for laws.


This is the King’s representative in the Bailiwick of
Guernsey. The Lieutenant Governor holds the position for five



Candidates hoping to be elected as Deputies write a
manifesto. This sets out their views on different issues and
gives the public an idea of what the candidate would do if
they were elected.

Motion of No Confidence

This is when the members of the States vote that they
have no confidence in a States Committee.

When the States vote that they have ‘No Confidence’ in a commitee,
the members of that committee are required to resign and
a new committee of members is elected to replace them.



This is a special kind of law. The States of Deliberation
comes up with the idea for the law, but this time, the Privy
Council does not need to approve it. However, these kinds of
laws cannot bring in new taxes or change laws which are already
in place.


Parish Constable

These constables do not have any police functions. They are
elected, for three years at a time, by the people living in
their parish.

Parish polling station

This is where islanders on the Electoral Roll can go to vote but
only if they are residents of the parish the station is located in.

Policy & Resources Committee

This is a Senior Committee of the States. It is responsible
for policy co-ordination, financial matters and external

Political party

This is an organised group of people with the same ideas
or who have the same political positions. They work together
to get elected so that their party’s plans are more likely to be

Principal Committee

Most policy-making is carried out in six Principal Committees.
They are: Committee for Economic Development; Committee
for Education, Sport & Culture; Committee for Employment
& Social Security; Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure;
Committee for Health & Social Care; and Committee for Home
Affairs. Members of Principal Committees are not allowed to be
members of the Senior Committee (Policy & Resources)

Privy Council

The Privy Council gives advice to the King because he has
to approve new laws before they come into force.

H.M. Procureur

His Majesty’s Procureur is the main legal adviser to the Crown and the

Public Sector

Everyone who works for the States is a public sector
employee. This includes civil servants, teachers, nurses,
police officers, fire-fighters, prison officers and road cleaners to
name just a few.



Each Parish has a rector who leads services at the Church.
The Rector also has a seat in the States of Election.


This is where everyone in Guernsey on the Electoral Roll is invited
to vote on a particular proposal.


If at least seven Deputies want something changed, they put
together a requête (a kind of report). The members of the
States then read the requête and hold a debate on it.


You sometimes hear about a States ‘resolution’. This is when
they’ve made a formal decision about something.

Royal Court

Criminal and civil cases are brought in both the Royal Court
and the Magistrate’s Court. The most serious criminal cases
(sentences of imprisonment over 2 years) and the most valuable
civil cases (over £10,000) are brought in the Royal Court.

The main Royal Court Chamber is also where the States meetings
are held.



Sark is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. It has its own
parliament (which is called the Chief Pleas).

Scrutiny Management Committee

This Committee reviews and challenges the decisions,
proposals and expenditure of other committees.

The States

When people talk about the States of Deliberation, they
often just call it the States.

The States of Deliberation

This is the name of Guernsey’s Parliament. It is made up of
the Bailiff, HM Procureur, HM Comptroller, 38 Deputies and
2 Alderney Representatives.

States of Election

The States of Election chooses new Jurats. It is made up of
the Bailiff, the Procureur, the Comptroller, the Jurats, the
Rectors, the Deputies and representatives of the Douzaine.

Super-polling station

This is where every islander on the Electoral Roll can
go to vote regardless of which parish they live in.


This is when a Deputy asks for a debate to be delayed to a
later date.

Sursis motivé

This is when a Deputy asks for a debate to be delayed until
after something else has been done.


United Kingdom

This is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland. Guernsey is not part of the UK.