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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

"Ministry Of Justice? Responsibility For Jersey? Pull The Other One!"

UK and islands' relations reviewed

According to Lord McNally and his Crown Dependencies Team, Jersey has it's own judicial system and the English authorities cannot interfere. So how come they can interfere now?

Dear Mr R Sorda,

Subject: Graham Powers Judicial Review – Conflict of Interest

Thank you for your email dated 10 May 2012 copied to the Secretary of State of Ministry of Justice, in which you raise your concerns about the conflict of interest of Mr. Graham Powers in relation to his Judicial Review. Your email has been forwarded to the Crown Dependencies Team as we are responsible for managing the relationship between the UK and Crown Dependencies. I have been asked to reply. 

At the outset, I should explain that Jersey is not a part of the United Kingdom. It is an internally self-governing Dependency of the Crown with its own legislative assembly, its own administrative, fiscal and legal systems and its own courts of law.

Consequently, the Judicial Review and any conflict of interest relating to it, are a domestic matter for the Jersey legal system (Courts) and not an issue upon which it would be appropriate for the Ministry of to intervene or comment upon.

Yours sincerely,

Manjula Rettna Kumar 
Crown Dependencies Team


Moves to improve the relationship between the UK and the Crown Dependencies will be reviewed by the Justice Select Committee.
The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for relations with Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
In 2010, the committee suggested changes to the ministry aimed at improving the relationship.
Sir Alan Beith MP, its chairman, said he wanted to see what had changed and how effective it had been.
He said the recommendations made three years ago included a call for UK departments to take more care over the possible impact on the islands of any changes to their legislation.
The committee said there should be more direct-dealing between ministries and the islands, rather than all correspondence going through the Ministry of Justice.

Sir Alan Beith said good and bad
examples would be analysed

'Recommendations right?'
"It's only on matters of good governance, international relations and what we describe as good neighbour issues that they ought to become involved," Sir Alan said.

He said of the recommendations: "They've largely been implemented and the present minister Lord McNally... has sought to carry out most of our recommendations.
"There's one or two we didn't agree about, for example on how Guernsey is represented and the dependencies are represented in international negotiations where the UK is pursuing its own interests as well."
Sir Alan said the review aimed to establish "whether we made the right recommendations and whether they worked in practice".

Changes in relations 2010-2013

  • March 2013 - UK budget includes tax avoidance and evasion measures expected to recoup £3bn in unpaid taxes from the islands, figure disputed by island officials
  • March 2013 - Jersey signs tax sharing agreement with UK
  • February 2013 - Isle of Man signs UK FATCA
  • April 2012 - Low Value Consignment Relief ends
  • April 2012 - HM Revenue and Customs announces clampdown on QROPS, the overseas pension scheme
  • November 2011 - UK announces end of Low Value Consignment Relief
  • April 2011 - Jersey and UK agree reciprocal health deal
  • September 2010 - Isle of Man and UK sign new reciprocal health agreement
  • April 2010 - Reciprocal health agreements with all three islands end
  • March 2010 - Previous review by Justice Select Committee

'Resolving differences'
In recent years, areas where the relationship has been strained include the loss of Low Value Consignment Relief, which allowed certain items to be sent to UK VAT-free, the ending of reciprocal health agreements and the clampdown on tax evasion, the latest move being announced in the UK budget.
Sir Alan said: "There will always be these kind of issues given that Guernsey operates a different tax regime and caters in different ways to different financial markets.
"There was a particularly bad experience of changes to reciprocal health arrangements... which was a particular example of how not to do it.
"We analysed that in some detail, we wanted to make sure that when these issues come up, as they will, there's a reasonable way of arguing out and resolving differences."
During the review, the committee plans to speak to officials from the Ministry of Justice and the islands, but will also accept written submissions before midday on 10 May 2013.

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