Parish Assembly

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Assemblée Paroissiale

A meeting of all Electors and Ratepayers of a Parish. The Rector, Churchwardens, Almoners, members of the Honorary Police, and any Jurat or Crown Officer living in the parish are members ex officio.

Functions

The Assembly

  • Sets the annual domestic rate according to the budget proposed by the Constable;
  • Elects members of the municipality, including the Roads Committee, Roads Inspectors, Vingteniers, Constable's Officers
  • Recommends liquor licences to the licensing bench
  • Adopts road names
  • Authorises the Procureurs du Bien Public to enter into contracts in the name of the parish
  • May discuss other matters as proposed by the Connétable, or at the written request of a number of members of the Assembly

History

The origins of the Parish Assembly are lost in the mists of time. In 1787 the States of Jersey passed a law to provide for all ratepayers of a parish to elect a committee to administer parochial affairs. The Privy Council, having evidently been lobbied by vested interests, ruled that the law should be struck down on the grounds that the breadth of suffrage infringed on the prerogatives of those who considered themselves Principals:

"At the Court of St James's the 8th of August 1787...(...) For by that Act the Ancient and immemorial Constitution of the Parochial Assemblies which has always been composed of the Principal Inhabitants, the Constables and other Officers of the Parishes overturned and the Assembly thrown open to all the Inhabitants that pay rates or Contribute to the Publick taxes and at the same time that it admits into the Assembly such a Multitude of Voters and makes them competent to determine all matters that may legally come before a Parochial Assembly, Yet they are ordered as soon as possible to elect a Committee for the purpose of facilitating and expediting such Business as requires a particular discussion, and this Committee is to Continue for three Years."

The Privy Council recommended that the uncertainty over the membership of the Parish Assembly be cleared up instead, and the institution be placed on a statutory footing. An 1804 law on parish assemblies was passed therefore which defined the membership of the assembly as being of the Connétable, Rector, officers, and principals paying at least 20 quarters.

In 1975 membership of the Assembly was extended to all electors.

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