Search This Blog

Monday, 11 February 2013

"Do We Have Access To The Law In Jersey? Do Wookies Live On Endor?"

"We Put These Questions To The Test"

Do Wookies Live on Endor?

There has been much speculation over the years about where Wookies live, just as there has been much speculation about whether or not we have clear, full, and unrestricted access to the law here in Jersey. The answers are below.

There we have it, Wookies "Do Not" live on Endor! They live on Kashyyyk.

So, just how easy was the next question to answer?

Do We Have Access To The Law In Jersey?

This question was a lot harder to answer, and as we also needed proof of our claim, something that the Courts in Jersey never seem to produce when turning us over for a fast buck!

On Wednesday, the 16th of January 2013, we did a posting following the adventures of Deputy Mike Higgins in Cloud Cuckoo Land. This being the vote in the Chamber of Horrors with regard to translating all Jersey laws into a language we could all understand....English.

Bailhache rallied his cronies, doing everything he could to see this proposition from Mike Higgins defeated, and utterly defeated it was.

Below is a small extract from that posting including a little quote from Constable John Gallichan that would guarantee the people of Jersey, clear, full, and unrestricted access to the law.

Another valid point to make is the nonsense that "Constable John Gallichan suggested the Jersey Legal Information Board could provide translations on request instead of forcing all laws to be translated." Just one slight problem there I'm afraid!

Myself and Cyril, on a number of separate occasions, have had contact with Caroline Coleman and Paul Matthews from the Judicial Greffe of Jersey. During those conversations and meetings we both had asked for an English translation of the Loi (1864) réglant la procédure criminelle so as to mount a comprehensive and meaningful defence to our cases. We were told in no uncertain terms that there was "No official, or unofficial translation available to us".

Months later, as it transpired, Cyril received and English translation of that very same law given to him in a bundle from the Attorney General for use in his appeal. Strangely, this translation was dated 2004? So who is pulling who's leg Mr Greffier?

The question we now ask is, was this guarantee from Constable Gallichan even worth the breath he used in coming out with it?

Well, the answer to that is below.

Our man, who is a litigant in person following the sacking of his lawyer for gross negligence, and who is legitimately following his own course in trying to find out the law, went on an exploratory law walkabout. This little quest began, as one would expect, at the Judicial Greffe of the Royal Court.

As we can deduce from the recording, there was a little confusion over what exactly was required, this was however clarified by our man stating that he wanted a copy of the Rules of Procedure. We then hear that he would have to pay for it! Whatever happened to free and complete access to justice?

Our man now goes to Mourier House bookshop for a copy of the Rules of Procedure which he must purchase. The lady at the bookshop didn't have a copy of what our man wanted, and also confirmed that it was not on the Jersey law website. She further stated that they didn't even know of it? Our man is now sent back over to the Judicial Greffe of the Royal Court.

Our man, now back at the Judicial Greffe, has again asked for the Rules of Procedure, the lady he is talking to says this document may not exist, and she is on the phone to the lady who runs the J lib site who is going to come down and talk to our man personally.

Again our man asks for the Rules of Procedure and the lady explains that if it's not on the law site, she won't know anything about it. There is a little confusion between the two of them insofar as what was said by Deputy Higgins which was that the laws must be available to anyone who asks. The lady now tells our man that he is actually looking for the Practice Directions, and says that the Practice Directions are the Rules of Procedure, that's what they are she says.

She then checks to see if there are any documents called Rules of Procedure? She then confirms that they don't have the document. Our man then asks if he can have a copy of the translated Criminal Procedure Rules for cross reference purposes, the lady replies that they don't have them because "No one has successfully translated it, we tried to do it, we asked the board, but the translations that are published are NOT SAFE" ....YOU WHAT!!!

The lady our man is now talking to decides to ring the Law Drafts People, in particular, Pam Stayley. She asks Pam if she knows anything about a document called the Rules of Procedure? After some delay, Pam gets back to the lady stating that they are none the wiser and nobody seems to know? So much for full and complete access to the law.

So after a little more confusion we have now narrowed matters down to the Criminal Procedure, and which is written in Normandy French. The lady tells our man that if he wants a safe translation of this law, he will have to sort that out himself! She then says that "there is something in Jersey French and it has been translated, but it's not reliable". It's the Procedure Criminelle, 1864, chapter 08.740, she also states that "some lawyers do have translations of this, but Advocate Matthews, who's the deputy Judicial Greffe, says it's best to get your own translation because, um, they're not reliable, some of them aren't that reliable and we don't actually have a translation here". She then confirmed the only copy they had was in French, "we haven't got a translation, we don't have one". The lady then tells our man he might ring round a few lawyers, some of the older law firms, just to see if they have a copy. WTF?

So....What in God's name do our readers make of that little episode?

It gets worse!

We now take a look at the Email exchanges that ensued following our mans request for information on the law. Our man is in blue, their girl is in red.

Good afternoon Sue,
 I spoke with you yesterday morning with regards to the “Rules of Procedure” , I've just researched it further being the chapter 08.740  which is the “Loi (1864) réglant la procédure criminelle”. 
Can you just confirm something with me? , you mentioned to me yesterday the Judiciary don’t supply a translation of any relevant Loi laws because no one has ever successfully translated the “Loi” laws written in Normandy/French.
You also mentioned that you have tried to get it translated by requesting the board to publish a translation.
 What I'm a bit confused about is when  you then went onto say that “the translation that has been published is not “said”,  can you clarify what you meant as I'm a bit confused on that, is there a publish translation that is not said?
 Hopefully you can help me as I'm needing to make sense of the laws that the public is governed by.
Many Thanks

Subject: RE: Loi Laws Translations
Dear Mr ******
What I said was that any translations in the past have not been ‘safe’. In other words one could not rely on the English translation to interpret that particular law because it might not stand up in a court of law and that’s why we cannot publish a translation. We are looking into translating that law but it won’t be in the near future.
I should just correct you on another point, I think some French laws have been rewritten into English, but it’s usually when the law is being updated – there are a number of laws still in Norman French and we do not have the means or the expertise to translate them.
I hope this clarifies the matter
Sue du Feu 
Programme & Conference Director,
Jersey Legal Information Board 

Subject: RE: Loi Laws Translations
Thank you for the reply Sue,
So as it stands there,there is no safe translation. What confuses me is that lawyers are quoting these laws in actual cases.
So if that is happening , does it not make such prosecution cases, in either prosecution or defence, unsafe? If no one can understand it or successfully describe its meaning?
What actual translations are local lawyers using? And how can anyone understand it if it’s going to be disregarded as being not “safe”?
Sorry to be a pain ,but I'm still very confused as to how these laws are being used by namely prosecution lawyers in Jersey, especially with regards to what they actually mean.
If you could respond to have further clarity , it would be appreciated

Subject: RE: Loi Laws Translations
Jersey lawyers all have to take French exams before they can practice so they do not need translations, they interpret straight from the French. What I’m saying is there is no published translation that we can use to put on the website.  
Sue du Feu

There are two phrases in particular that should have every alarm bell in Jersey ringing!

1. "What I said was that any translations in the past have not been ‘safe’. In other words one could not rely on the English translation to interpret that particular law because it might not stand up in a court of law and that’s why we cannot publish a translation."

2. "there are a number of laws still in Norman French and we do not have the means or the expertise to translate them."

QUESTION: What is it then, that Wookies and Statutory Law have in common?

ANSWER: Both are totally fictitious and do not exist in the real world!

We would also gratefully acknowledge the help and assistance that these ladies tried so very hard to give to our man, they did the very best they could to accommodate him.

It is quite clear to us that virtually everyone who is not holding a prominent position within the law officers department, and the judicial greffe, is being deliberately kept in the dark about these laws and their real meanings.


A huge thank you to VFC for his assistance with the soundtracks and video editing.



  1. "Jersey lawyers all have to take French exams before they can practice so they do not need translations, they interpret straight from the French."

    Perhaps they should explain in court what their interpretation is, as it may be flawed, it may vary, or they could heaven forbid, just be making it up, now where have I heard someone making a similar statement before.... hmmmmmm??

    1. What, I think, Mike Higgins ought to propose is a mechanism by which a person can apply to the Judicial Greffier for a translation of a statute that can be relied upon by a subject. Technically, you can already do this by applying to a court for a declaration but the process is unduly cumbersome and expensive particularly if it involves another party. Throughout much international law, legislative instruments often have two "authentic" versions - versions that can be relied upon as authoritative. They often feed off each other in interpretative terms but they at least allow subjects to understand the law they are subject to.

  2. Unfxxxin believable.

  3. Is it any wonder we can not get translations. The court gets an unfair advantage with procedures manoeuvres keeping defendants in the dark.

    Nothing fair in one partie knowing the rules and the other, not.

  4. So its the Jersey Way!
    Are you learning something new? Look - this has been going on since 1204 when Normandy broke with England and the CI's were left dangling over the murky pond called uncertainty.
    Of course it suits the lawyers and Judges to be able to make it up as they go along but the public - including those who just trade here - have been complaining about the obscurities ever since 1204.
    There have been countless investigations sent from London and the Code of 1771 was just one example of a feeble attempt to write down the laws of Jersey so that the public could understand them.

    You and I will be celebrating the events of 1769 that led up to the publication of the Code - on Jersey Reform Day - 28 September this and every year now that it is OFFICIALLY recognised.

    But the battle to achieve REFORM - and that includes a clarity in the law - will continue for many more decades yet.

    There is no point in waiting for Jersey lawyers to provide that clarity because that would be cutting off their own blood supply. And the States answered Deputy Higgins with a resounding NO when he tried to have some Parish regulations translated and clarified recently.

    Just face the facts - there are some who think that babbling in Jersey French is more important than translating the laws into English or something vaguely understndable and it was always thus! But please don't kid yourselves that this sick patient called Jersey law might heal itself because it never will...your small efforts along with SSTAG's current campaign for clarification of States policies on things such as Housing, Social Security, Emplyment tribunals and much much more is all part of the very same struggle that has been going on since 1204...

    see you on 28 September...what will you be appearing as by the way?
    The uniform of the serf is very fashionable at the moment...

  5. I shall be appearing as a Normandy/French Statute....outdated, invisible, and meaningless to the rest of the world :)

  6. Why haven't the people who have sexully abused children been named shamed arrested & locked up?

  7. So then let me get this straight. The Law Officers/ Royal Court/ Greffe "do not have the means or the expertise to translate them".

    Then "Jersey lawyers all have to take French exams before they can practice so they do not need translations, they interpret straight from the French".

    Question: If the Jersey lawyers are able to interpret the law with a few french lessons why can't one of them translate it ffs?"

    1. Anon, the Judicial Greffier cannot provide an interpretation of the law at the moment because he would be straying into the realms of giving legal advice with attendant liabilities such that if, say, he interpreted a statute that was later found to be wrong he might face claims for compensation. On the other hand, a judge interprets statutes without such liability because he has privilege (protection from suit) to do so. That is why I suggested that in a previous comment that the Judicial Greffier should gain the ability to give interpretations of points of law that are binding to the extent that the interpretation would not prejudice either the Judicial Greffier or any third party in certain circumstances: for example, before a matter became contentious or the value of the dispute was below some given value. Technically, a declaration could be sought in the petty debts court that would have a similar effect but really the nature of the application is more general insofar as it may be academic in nature (as in pre-dispute). As a general rule, the courts do not like academic questions because, being theoretical, they are based on assumptions before the fact which has the potential to make the development of case law somewhat erratic. But, in this case, the proposition is for a quasi-legislative role bounded by an underlying statute. The same effect could be had by a State's Member proposing an endorsed translation of particular parts of a statute and this being voted upon in the States Chamber.

    2. Our lawyer friend above, WHY should ANY government agent have any protection from liability? These clowns are paid a fortune from the public purse to serve the public. What service do we get for our money?

      Utter criminals like Uber crook Richard Falle and that out and out liar Bridget Shaw, fining the people for Quasi crimes when, according to her O of O, she should be protecting the people from such rackets. Have you forgotten what Halsbury's said about STATUTES?

      They are nothing but a bunch of outlaws and despots, who take everything they can lay their hands on to enrich their own existence whilst punishing us for allowing them to take it.

      The game is over, worldwide....

    3. Ian, people wouldn't have any incentive to do anything if everything they did rendered them liable to third parties their work may affect. Some of them are paid very well, but they also take decisions that may render them, their organizations, customers or stakeholders to substantial liabilities. Even the government has to be wary about accepting liabilities as even governments can be completely bankrupted.

      Not sure about your reference to Halsbury's, and I take your point about Magistrates Falle and Shaw. However, it is exceptionally rare to find people with the strength of character to "do justice" and the skill to manage the expectations of the environment they work in. It is important to respect the role of a judge, if not the person appointed to the role: they are fixed with a duty to make a decision affecting those before them against potentially complex and conflicting evidence.

      Personally, I am amazed that the then Bailiff appointed Advocate Falle as a judge given his reprehensible personal claim against the Island of Jersey's government to the Jersey foreshore. I would have thought that such an act would have made him ineligible for the rule.

  8. Taxpayers money would be better spent teaching school children proper french rather than paying certain people who can,t even pronounce the words properly to teach Jersey french, and the sooner it is understood that speaking Jersey french was a way of life now gone and never to return,we can then stop wasting taxpayers money.

  9. Most Jersey Lawyers do not speak French fluently, only basic French. Even if they did they would struggle with these laws because they are not in 'regular' French. They are in a very archaic form of that language meaning that even a freindly Frenchman would not be able to read them properly, let alone 'interpret' them legalistically.

    The Convention demands that laws should be accessible. If they are not a declaration of incompatibility should be made by a helpful politician.