There are only a handful of items on the agenda for the April States Meeting, most of which are legislation for approval.
Billet d’Etat VIII – 26 April 2017 (read it online here)
Part One: Legislation Laid Before the States
The items in this section are statutory instruments (orders and regulations) which are agreed and put into action by individual Committees of the States, in line with their powers and duties. The States do not have to approve these (they are in force from the moment the relevant Committee decides) but we do have the power to annul a statutory instrument if we don’t agree with it. This would be quite an unusual move. There won’t be any debate about these items unless there is a motion to annul one of them.
There is only one statutory instrument being laid before the States. It updates the organisations listed in Schedule 1 to the Terrorism and Crime (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2002 (organisations which it is illegal to join or support) in line with changes to the UK Terrorism Act 2000.
Part Two: Legislation for Approval
In February, the States agreed to introduce a register of beneficial ownership. The legislation needed to create such a register has now been drafted, and is submitted to the States for approval here.
There are numerous pieces of law which refer to marriage. Following approval of the same-sex marriage legislation, some of these laws need updating so that the gender of the partners to a marriage is not specified. This ordinance makes all the necessary updates, and introduces the catch-all principle that Guernsey law will apply equally to marriages between heterosexual and same-sex couples.
This ordinance amends the Protection of Investors (Limitation of Liability) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2014 to change the name of the Channel Islands Securities Exchange Authority Limited (CISEAL) to The International Stock Exchange Authority Limited (TISEAL), to reflect that organisation’s official change of name.
In September 2016, the States approved the Same-Sex Marriage (Guernsey) Law, 2016. This ordinance means that the law will come into effect on 2 May 2017. The Committee for Employment & Social Security has published information stating that, if this is passed: “the earliest possible date for a same-sex marriage to take place would be 4 May 2017. In order for that to be possible, couples would need to qualify for, and obtain, a special licence from the Greffe, which allows marriages to take place one clear day after giving notice.” We advise that: “same-sex couples who are considering getting married should discuss their circumstances with the Greffe before making wedding plans in order to ascertain the notice period applicable for them.”
Part Three: Other Business
The European Union is introducing new rules for data protection, known as the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. Anyone doing business with the EU will have to handle data in ways that comply with the new rules. In September 2016, the States agreed to update Guernsey’s data protection regime in order to reflect the changes coming from the EU. This includes drafting new legislation, and some changes to the function of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
This brief policy letter sets out the principles by which the new law will be drafted. They include greater accountability for people and organisations who collect or process others’ personal data – including an upfront requirement to notify the Data Protection commissioner of any data breaches – and more of an emphasis on the rights of those whose data is collected and used (that is, all of us, as ordinary citizens). The aim is that the new law will ensure Guernsey’s rules on data protection reflect the GDPR, in order to be certified as “adequate” by the European Commission – a decision which would enable Guernsey to continue doing business with the EU without any additional restrictions (except, of course, those which might come about as a result of Brexit). There is a very tight timetable for drafting the law, now, as the GDPR is due to come into force in 2018.
The policy letter notes that the funding model of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner will need to change, as it is likely that the new law will not include a requirement for every organisation that collects or processes data to pay a routine notification fee, as they currently do. Guernsey and Jersey are currently researching a revised model, and will return to the States with proposals later this year.