This article will provide guidance on how the central authority works in Guernsey.  The Bailiff’s Office in the Royal Court House of the Channel Islands is the Central Authority in Guernsey. The Royal Court addresses civil and criminal court proceedings and sessions of Guernsey’s parliament. Click here for How the Hague Convention Simplifies International Process Service.

The bailiff performs ceremonial and administrative duties, is the chief judge in the Channel Island bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, and is the legislature president. The Crown appoints the bailiffs and deputy bailiffs on the advice of the Secretary of State for Justice, and they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the island legislatures or governments.  As such, a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal helps ensure that the requirements of the islands serve papers. Click Here for information on the Code of Civil Procedure in Guernsey.

Understanding the role of the Bailiff

The bailiff’s role has evolved from that of a lawmaker to one primarily concerned with the administration of justice. In the Royal Court of Jersey and the Royal Court of Guernsey, the primary trial courts on their island, the bailiff and jurats ( elected lay judges tasked with making factual determinations) sit side by side. In addition to being a bailiff, each island’s judge of appeal is a member of both courts. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers

The heads of the two legislative bodies, the States of Jersey Assembly and the States of Deliberation in Guernsey, are known as bailiffs. Although this has changed the bailiffs’ executive functions, they retain some executive authority. For instance, they are privy to communications between the island’s chief minister and the UK government. They could have a say in political decisions that impact the islands’ constitutional relationship with the UK. In their civil and ceremonial capacities, each bailiff maintains the position of ‘first citizen’ of the island. In the absence of the bailiff, the deputy bailiff of each bailiwick may act as presiding officer in the Royal Court and the States chamber. Occasionally, senior jurats may be appointed as lieutenant bailiffs to ceremonial fill in for the bailiff and preside over administrative judicial procedures. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

While serving as Presiding Officer of the States of Deliberation, the Bailiff still maintains their roles as civil head of the island and head of the court. In addition to serving as the Court of Appeal president, the bailiff is also a judge. On non-political events, the Bailiff greets and welcomes members of the Royal Family and dignitaries visiting the Island on behalf of the people of Guernsey, representing Guernsey as the civic leader of the community both within and outside the Island.   Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation

In the presence of the Jurats, the Members of the States of Guernsey, and the Advocates of the Royal Court, the newly appointed Bailiff is robbed and sworn into office. The oath-giver promises to uphold the island’s laws, freedoms, and traditions, bring glory to God, and respect the Sovereign as a faithful subject while swearing the oath in French.  Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

.When there is no dispute about the facts, the Bailiff or Deputy Bailiff may preside over the matter alone. When communicating formally or informally with the British government, the Bailiff’s Chamber is the intermediary between the Government of Guernsey and other nations. Our Undisputed Legal process servers are local to the area and ensure service is done upon the Bailiff by established rules of civil procedure in Guernsey. Click here for information on How To Overcome Language Barriers in Process Service 

Civil procedure in Guernsey

For anyone acquainted with English law, the foundations of Guernsey’s judicial civil process remain similar. However, The island of Guernsey is not a constituent kingdom but an independent sovereign nation with its rules governing procedures and laws. The Royal Court Civil Rules, 2007 (the RCCR) regulates civil proceedings in Guernsey’s Royal Court. Furthermore, the Royal Court may consider the White Book recommendations about the English Civil Procedure Rules, even if they are not directly applicable to Guernsey. Click here for information on How Timelines Are Important in Process Serving.

Any claim initiated after the applicable timeframe may be effectively defended by claiming that the proceedings were time-barred and could not be brought before the Guernsey courts. Unlike restriction in other countries, which bars remedies, the notion of ‘prescription’ in Guernsey law works to eliminate rights.

A party may argue that it has encountered a barrier to action or an empêchement d’agir, as it is known in Guernsey, a concept that arises from the island’s customary law. When time is of the essence and prescription may otherwise ruin a claim, this approach can help put the clock back. Before trying to depend on the concept, it is advisable to get specialized guidance since the exact boundaries of the principle are intrinsically unclear, especially when applied to contemporary business issues.  The formal proceedings begin when a Plaintiff files a Cause with the Royal Court. The Plaintiff must describe the remedy sought and the significant facts upon which the Plaintiff relies in a Cause. For efficient, accurate, and trustworthy foreign service of process in Guernsey, it is advisable to use a private process service agency such as Undisputed Legal. 

The Plaintiff must seek permission from the Court to serve the Cause on a person whose residence is outside of the Royal Court’s jurisdiction. Unless a limited attendance is required by a challenge to the Guernsey courts’ jurisdiction, the Defendant will specify whether the claim is to be contested and give a service location inside the Bailiwick of Guernsey at the tabling of the Cause. The Plaintiff has the right to seek judgment in default if the Defendant does not attend. To prevent a default judgment from being rendered, service should be undertaken by a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal.

After the issue is added to the pleadings list, the RCCR gives the defendant twenty-eight days (which may be changed by the parties or the court) to submit their defenses if they want to contest the proceedings. Judgment in default might be sought if the Defendant does not provide defenses within the required period.

PRE-ACTION Procedure in Guernsey

No pre-action disclosure mechanism exists in Guernsey except in very narrow contexts (cases involving death or personal damage). Similarly, there is no established method for obtaining disclosure orders for records held by third parties. Only advocates qualified in Guernsey are granted the right to appear before the Royal Court, except for litigants who represent themselves. Another court unique to Guernsey is the Court of Appeal, where, once again, no one other than advocates from Guernsey may appear. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is Guernsey’s highest appellate court. Our Undisputed Legal process servers are well-versed with the service requirements in Guernsey, and we ensure that your papers are readily accepted across every court.

It is possible (but not guaranteed) that the expenses of foreign attorneys may be recovered, and the Court will consider the specifics of the case while deciding whether or not to do so. The goal may be to lower the applicable rates to the maximum rates that may be recovered for advocates from Guernsey when non-Guernsey attorneys have their expenses granted.

Court system in Guernsey 

In Guernsey, the court of first instance for civil matters is either the Royal Court or the Petty Debts Court of the Magistrates Court. Whether liquidated or not, any claim may be handled by the Petty Debts Court. There is a £10,000 cap on claims made in the Petty Debts Court.

The Royal Court hears cases involving sums more than £10,000. The Bailiff serves as the chief judge, president of the Royal Court, and civil leader of the Island; he also presides over the Royal Court. In the absence of the Bailiff, the Royal Court shall be presided over by the Deputy Bailiff, an appointed Lieutenant Bailiff, or a Judge of the Royal Court. A judge and two or three jurats, whose full name is ‘jure justicier,’ make up the Royal Court when it meets. The jurors have a unique function in Guernsey’s justice system. The States of Guernsey, the island’s legislature, hold specially called sessions to elect them.  Though they are not paid judges, their relevant work expertise (e.g., in finance or accounting) often leads to their election. In criminal cases, deciding on punishment and factual issues is their job.

 For matters of law or expense, a judge in the Royal Court may decline to convene a jurat. Our Undisputed Legal process servers know how to conduct service in Guernsey’s many courts. However, since Guernsey does fall within the bounds of the Hague Service Convention, our experience in serving papers under the Convention becomes significantly more relevant.

Hague Service Convention and Guernsey

Respondents who do not live in Guernsey are not granted permission to serve proceedings, and the Royal Court denied an interlocutory motion to set aside that decision. This ruling serves as a gentle reminder that the Royal Court Civil Rules do provide for the possibility of service outside of Guernsey through other methods than those specified in the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters in certain exceptional cases. 

The court can provide permission to serve a document outside of its jurisdiction. The Court will not issue an order unless it is convinced (via affidavit or other means) that the subject matter is [A.] properly before the Court for justiciability and [B.]  appropriately outside of its jurisdiction for delivery. The Court’s order must specify the time, place, and method of service, any restrictions that apply, and the minimum time between the date of service and the day the case may be prosecuted. The sergeant’s report or an affidavit must be submitted to prove service in compliance with the order. 

The British Nationality Act 1981 includes a list of British overseas territories under the Hague Service Convention.  If the court authorizes the service of a claim form outside of the jurisdiction, the court will decide how long the defendant has to provide,  submit, or provide an acknowledgment or defense proof of service. The court indicates when the defendant may reply to the claim form when granting authority to serve it outside of the jurisdiction, as provided in Rule 6.37(5)(a).

Any legal action in Guernsey’s Royal Court must begin with filing a Cause. This document lays out the plaintiff’s case, including the facts crucial to their case and the remedy they sought. In this respect, a Cause is similar to the English procedure’s claim form and particulars of claim. As an alternative to a Cause, the Rules allow certain separate applications to be filed. This may include, for instance, a request to the English High Court for an order in assistance to support insolvency proceedings that has already been granted.

A Summons detailing the complete circumstances and providing notice of the day and time of the Cause’s table (i.e., first hearing) before the Royal Court must be delivered to the defendant by HM Sergeant before proceedings may be initiated. The proceedings are said to have begun once the Sergeant receives a copy of the Summons for service. The Hague Service Convention guides international defendants for service out of Guernsey’s jurisdiction, and we at Undisputed Legal only aim to guide you to smooth service.

Assistance Regarding Guernsey

Generally speaking, throughout Guernsey, the Sergeant must do service ‘à personne’ (on the defendant personally). To obtain service when personal delivery is impossible, one can ask the court to issue a substituted service order, which allows the process to continue as long as the steps the court specifies are taken to ensure that the document is delivered to the rightful recipient.

Any Guernsey proceedings to be served outside of the Bailiwick must first be granted permission by the Royal Court.  The application typically requires an affidavit to be sworn in support, which states that the deponent believes the plaintiff has a good cause of action, specifies where the defendant is or is likely to be located, and states that the matter is appropriately before the Royal Court and can be served outside of the jurisdiction.

The Royal Court has shown in recent notice and service cases that it is willing to be creative in this area, ordering service to occur by e-mail and newspaper publishing in the presumed location of the intended recipient, among other methods. Unlike in many countries, where the statute of limitations begins to run against a claim either upon issuance or service by the court, in this case, it starts to run against the plaintiff the moment the Summons is presented to the Sergeant for service.

Notary requirements in Guernsey

The main focus of notaries is verifying and validating signatures, authority, and capability as it pertains to papers intended for use abroad.  In many cases, a foreign lawyer would have drafted the document and forwarded it to a notary in Guernsey for execution. Powers of attorney, sworn declarations, contracts, paperwork about real estate transactions, and other types of certifications are all examples of such legal documents.

Ultimately, the notary’s certificate must accurately reflect what they have seen. A significant role of the notary is to attest that the person in question presented the supporting documents to the notary and that the notary has not conducted any additional verification of the certificates’ legitimacy. It all comes down to the requirements and the notary’s ability to provide a relevant certificate with the facts at hand. In practice, notarization is not legally necessary for using papers governed by Guernsey law inside the Bailiwick in very few instances. Nevertheless, documents that need to be sworn before a notary, jurat, or advocate with five years of experience are required to do so under the Powers of Attorney and Affidavits (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1995. As a result, a local notary public is a common choice for this purpose. Additionally, businesses or regulators may ask for CDD documents to be authenticated or specific certificates to be prepared by a notary to provide this degree of security.

The notarization of some papers is not possible. Notarization is unnecessary for some documents, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates. Any duplication of this kind, except the creator’s records, is illegal and a violation of Crown copyright. Official copies should be obtained, as notaries should require. These may have the registrar’s signature immediately legalized, and if the recipient nation also needs a notarial stamp, the notary can attach their certificate. Official materials theoretically protected by Crown copyright and cannot be explicitly legalized may come across. It was necessary to get a local notary’s signature and certification to legalize the certificate of naturalization, even though a former Bailiff of Guernsey had signed it. This was because his signature was not in the official signature book for apostilles.

Background and verification checks are necessary, but they may be time-consuming and tedious. It is insufficient to witness the signing of a paper, attach a seal, and ring the cash register. For instance, a client business’s director’s notarized signature is required when the firm agrees. The notary cannot do this without [A.] Identity Verification (which is necessary for both the entity and the person executing it;) and [B.] a certified copy of the company’s certificate of incorporation, certified copies of the company’s merger and acquisition documents sight of the director’s or officer’s passport Additionally, the notary must verify the business’s existence and avoid any winding up or liquidation orders by conducting a corporate and litigation search.

It is a good idea to contact your notary to clarify what you need done and for which nation. The notary may want further information before they can notarize party papers. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can help you understand which papers need to be notarized in Guernsey.

Power of Attorney

With the use of a lasting power of attorney (LPA), a person may prepare for the future and establish measures to assist them if they lose the ability to make choices on their own. A person may register either a ‘property and financial affairs’ LPA (LPA Form A2), a ‘health and welfare’ LPA (LPA Form A3), or a hybrid form (LPA Form A1) that covers both kinds of LPAs.

The grantor may delegate decision-making authority to one or more solicitors using a Lasting Power of Attorney. The party’s counsel is limited to making judgments that the party could have made if they were competent. A power of attorney has a duty to look out for the party’s best interests and consider their previous intentions. A Lasting Power of Attorney typically deals with money and property or health and welfare. Both kinds of LPAs are at the discretion of the client.

If a person is not yet sixteen years old and lacks the mental ability to form a Lasting Power of Attorney, they will not be able to do so.  To be appointed as an attorney, one must [A.] be at least 18 years old and [B.]  not be in the process of bankruptcy (to establish a lasting power of attorney for matters pertaining to financial and property concerns).

The applicant will be contacted by registration personnel to schedule an appointment at the Greffe once they have reviewed the completed form. Following completion and signature by the Grantor and the Attorneys, the Lasting Power of Attorney form(s) should be returned.   It is necessary to bring picture identification with you to the event. 

A mentally competent person may appoint someone to act on their behalf in all or certain things, including the execution of legal papers, via an Enduring Power of Attorney.   Although Enduring Powers of Attorney do not arise in Guernsey under the present legislation, they might be registered in the Guernsey Courts even if awarded in another state.

 When it comes to legal disputes in regions like Guernsey, companies, individuals, and solicitors may greatly benefit from delegating process services to highly experienced organizations like Undisputed Legal. Professional process servers save up time and energy that the parties to a lawsuit might use for other, more pressing matters over the course of their legal processes.

When navigating the complexities of Guernsey’s local legal system, the assistance of companies such as Undisputed Legal becomes invaluable. Our process servers in the field know all the ins and outs of the jurisdiction and can serve legal papers according to the letter of the law. The integrity of the whole legal process is at stake. Therefore, this knowledge can be crucial for avoiding legal challenges due to incorrect service.

Process service handled by seasoned experts may provide priceless relief. If you need legal papers served in Guernsey, you can trust that Undisputed Legal process servers will execute the job quickly, correctly, and in accordance with all applicable rules and regulations. This dependability is fundamental for building confidence in the judicial system, which in turn promotes the effective and equitable administration of justice. If you found this article helpful, kindly consider leaving us a review.

Written by: Undisputed Legal Inc.


Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

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Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

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1. Constitutional amendments established The positions of chief minister and a ministerial system of government in Jersey (2005) and Guernsey (2004).

2. A single judge presides over all hearings in the Royal Court and has the last say over all questions of law, procedure, and expense. According to the Royal Court (Reform) (Guernsey) Law, 2008, a judge may decide a civil trial alone or with jurats’ help. Members of the Court’s chosen lay jury serve as jurors in civil proceedings and, when convened, decide on issues of fact.

3. Judgmental authorities of several Commonwealth States that aren’t Hague Convention parties demand that service follow rule 6.42(1)(b)(i) rather than 6.42(3

4. The time allowed to file an acknowledgment of service or defense, or to file or serve an admission, does not start to run until two months following the date of service under the State Immunity Act 1978. 

5. Claims involving prescriptions may be time-barred after the applicable prescription or restriction period has passed. There is typically a three-year statute of limitations for claims involving personal injuries and a six-year statute for claims involving contracts or torts. Whether a prescription period may be postponed due to ignorance of the claim’s existence (a concept termed ‘empêchement d’agir’) is complicated and requires particular assistance due to the intricate case law surrounding the matter.  Also, keep in mind that these are only broad rules of thumb; cases of fraud and allegations of breach of trust, for instance, are different.

6. The Greffe in the Royal Court House in St. Peter Port, Guernsey (GY1 2NZ).

7. Completed paper forms must be sent to The Greffe at Royal Court House, St. James’ Street, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 2NZ,



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