NEW Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland has promised changes to the judicial system. Deputy Bailiff since October 2002, he was yesterday installed as Sir de Vic Carey's successor and will become the 86th holder of the office since the 13th century.
'My term of office will be marked by quiet but persistent evolution equating perhaps to a quiet revolution, but no more than that,' he said.
'The extension of the Royal Court provides a catalyst and impetus for modernisation both technologically and in the way the courts conduct their business. The judiciary and the Royal Court staff are ready to embrace sensible change.'
The jurats will remain in the Royal Court ' 'together with the Bailiff, they are a personification of Guernsey's legal identity' ' and Mr Rowland said he would follow Sir de Vic in the robust defence of the island's position and traditions.
A special sitting of the Royal Court at St James was attended by Lt-Governor Sir John Foley, Isle of Man First Deemster Michael Kerruish and Jersey Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache.
'The Crown Dependencies have unique constitutions which generally serve them well,' said the Bailiff.
'I was fortunate as Procureur of this island and subsequently as Deputy Bailiff to benefit from my predecessor Sir de Vic's wise counsel and to observe his fearless and unswerving commitment to preserve and, where appropriate and whenever possible, to enhance the autonomy of this Bailiwick.
'We cannot predict with certainty what challenges the future may bring but I hope that during my term of office this Bailiwick will continue to develop its international personality, thereby fortifying and strengthening our constitutional autonomy.
'I have just taken an oath as Bailiff to be a faithful and loyal subject of Her Majesty and also to protect and maintain to the utmost of my ability all the laws, liberties, usages and ancient customs of the island.
'You may be assured that I will do so meticulously and conscientiously. As the oath testifies, the two are wholly consistent. I will do everything I can to protect our community to the full extent that the office of Bailiff in the 21st century permits.'