La Corbière Lighthouse, Jersey

The bailiwick of Jersey

Located in the English Channel close to the Cotentin Peninsula, the Island of Jersey can be found 25km from the French coast and 130km from England. It is 120km2 and has a population of approximately 100,000, the majority of whom live in St Helier, Jersey’s capital city.

The Island is an autonomous dependency of the British Crown, a link that has been established for over 800 years since Jersey formed part of the Duchy of Normandy. Under this constitutional arrangement, Jersey is self-governing with its own Government, own Parliament (the States Assembly) and own legal system. The Executive function of Jersey’s Government is carried out by the Council of Ministers, which is led by the Chief Minister, Deputy Lyndon Farnham.

War Tunnels, Jersey

History and heritage

The Island is dotted with historical and cultural remains dating back millennia, through to the Middle Ages and World War II including fascinating sites such as Elizabeth Castle, which has defended the Island for more than 400 years, La Hougue Bie, which played host to the Island’s Neolithic ancestors 5.500 years ago, and the many military bunkers leftover from the Nazi occupation that dot the landscape. English is now the main language, but French is still spoken as is the Island’s traditional language, Jersey Norman French, which, along with traditional customs and practices, Islanders seek to maintain. Jersey enjoys a mild microclimate, perhaps owing to shelter afforded by the Bay of Saint-Malo.

Royal Bank of Scotland, Jersey

Economy and trade

Over the centuries the Island’s economy has undergone significant change from a focus on agricultural industry – whether it was cider, cattle or potatoes – through tourism, to the present day where
the financial services industry directly accounts for approximately 40% of the economy. The presence of a successful finance sector enables Jersey to provide high-quality public services and also means that the Island’s standard of living is higher than it might be otherwise: in 2011 gross value added (GVA) was £3.6bn, translating to £37,000 per head, one of the highest in the world. Jersey has a stable and internationally competitive tax regime that meets OECD standards of transparency and information exchange.