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Sir William announces his intention to retire as Bailiff

Jersey | Published:

THE Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache, is to retire from public office next October.

Jersey Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache

His resignation has been approved by the Queen and was announced during yesterday’s States sitting by the Deputy Bailiff, Tim Le Cocq.

Sir William, who is 65, was appointed as Bailiff in January 2015 having previously served as Deputy Bailiff and Attorney General.

In recent years, calls for the Bailiff to be replaced in the States Chamber with an elected speaker have intensified, although a planned referendum on the issue was scrapped earlier this year.

Sir William, who is currently out of the Island, thanked Members for treating the subject ‘without personal rancour’ and said it had been a privilege to serve as Bailiff.

In a statement read out in the Chamber by Mr Le Cocq, Sir William said: ‘I apologise that I cannot be with you personally to deliver this message in the States.

‘However, I wanted States Members to be amongst the first to know that Her Majesty the Queen has approved my request to be permitted to retire from the office of Bailiff on 12 October 2019.

‘By then I shall have completed nearly five years as Bailiff and some 20 years of public service. This is a time which is right for me and for my family and with what is now a new Assembly having been in place for 15 months, it seems as good a time as any to make way for a successor.

‘There will be plenty of opportunities for goodbye messages nearer the time as I have more than 12 months left in office, all being well.

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‘I should like to take the opportunity to say that, like my predecessors, I have tried to be useful in the role as presiding officer in this Assembly, a role which is not always straightforward, and sometimes positively challenging but it has been stimulating and notwithstanding the debate about the role of the Bailiff in the Assembly, I have always appreciated that members have approached that subject without personal rancour.’

Sir William was a pupil at St Michael’s Prep School before attending Charterhouse in Surrey and is an Oxford University graduate. He first qualified as an advocate in September 1976 and subsequently became a partner in local law firm Bailhache and Bailhache.

His brother, Sir Philip, is a former Bailiff.

In a further statement, Sir William said: ‘For the first half of my professional life, it never really occurred to me that I would have the opportunity to serve the Island in any of the Crown Appointments.

‘I have been very fortunate that that opportunity has come my way and it has been a real honour and privilege that it has done so.

‘For the sake of orderly administration, the Bailiff does tend to give a considerable amount of notice before his or her ultimate retirement date, and I am of course no different. I will continue to feel that sense of privilege until my retirement date and I look forward to continuing to work with all those who have given me such support and encouragement so far.’

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