A bailiwick is a legal area administered by one body or person, known as the bailiff. In the case of the Channel Islands, there are two: the Bailiwick of Jersey, and the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
As well as covering Guernsey itself, the Bailiwick of Guernsey also takes in the neighbouring islands of Alderney, Sark, Herm, Brecqhou, Jethou, Crevichon and Lihou, plus the surrounding waters.
Bailiff of the Bailiwick of Guernsey
The bailiff is appointed by the Sovereign (king or queen) on the basis of recommendations made to them, although in practice, they will usually have served as the deputy bailiff before their appointment and are normally a qualified lawyer. Once appointed, they can continue serving until the point of retirement, which is usually 65.
The appointed bailiff oversees the Royal Court and will cast a deciding vote if the Jurats (judges) cannot agree on a judgement themselves, or make a solo decision if a case being heard is a matter of principle or preference, not being based on established facts. They are also the official link between the islands that they have been appointed to serve, and foreign government bodies (which includes the British government).
The Bailiff, Lieutenant Governor and Chief Minister
The bailiff works with the lieutenant governor, who is also appointed by the crown as the Sovereign’s official representative on the island. The lieutenant governor presides over States meetings.
Although the bailiff and lieutenant governor are appointed, the chief minister is elected, and is thus the most senior political position within the Bailiwick. Their official title is President of the Policy and Resources Committee. The Committee deals with Guernsey’s external affairs and day to day administration.