Jurat

Jurat

[joor-at]
Jurat (through French from mediaeval Latin jurat, "he swears," Lat. jurare, to swear) is the name given to that part of an affidavit containing the actual oath or affirmation.

In addition, the word can refer to the sworn holders of certain offices.

English and United States law

In English and United States law, the word jurat is applied to that part of an affidavit which contains the names of the parties swearing the affidavit, the actual statement that an oath or affirmation has been made, the person before whom it was sworn, the date, place and other necessary particulars. The jurat is usually located on the bottom of a document. A typical form would be "Sworn to before me this (blank) day of (blank), 20__," with the signature of the witness, often a notary public, the place, and sometimes other particulars.

Additionally, this term can be used for certain electronic forms, (such as electronically filed tax returns in certain states), where the taxpayer(s) attest to the truth of the information contained. In the case of an electronically filed tax return, the taxpayer has to provide certain specific information - his social security number for example - to "sign" the jurat. Having done this, the electronically submitted return is considered to have the same legal effect as if the taxpayer had actually and physically signed the return.

Channel Islands

Under the ancien régime in France, in several towns, of the south-west, such as La Rochelle and Bordeaux, the jurats were members of the municipal body. The title was also borne by officials, corresponding to aldermen, in the Cinque Ports, but is now chiefly used as a title of office in the Channel Islands.

There are two bodies, consisting each of twelve jurats, for the Bailiwicks of Jersey and of Guernsey respectively. They form, with the Bailiff as presiding judge, the Royal Court in each Bailiwick. In Guernsey and Jersey, the Jurats, as lay people, are judges of fact rather than law, though they preside over land conveyances and liquor licencing. In Alderney, however, the Jurats are judges of both fact, and law (assisted by their learned Clerk) in both civil and criminal matters.

Until the constitutional reforms introduced in the 1940s to separate legislature and judiciary, they were elected for life, in Jersey by islandwide suffrage, in Guernsey by the States of Election, and were a constituent part of the legislative bodies.

Although no longer a political post, the office of Jurat is still considered the highest elected position to which a citizen can aspire.

However, in Alderney, Jurats are appointed by the Crown, following a recommendation from the President of Alderney.

Jersey

In Jersey, the power to raise excise duties was exercised by the Assembly of Governor, Bailiff and Jurats. These financial powers, along with the assets of the Assembly, were finally taken over by the States of Jersey in 1921, thereby enabling the States to control the budget independently of the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. In 1948 the jurats were replaced in the legislature by directly-elected senators. Jurats now serve as non-professional judges until retirement (at 72) and are indirectly elected by electoral college constituted of States Members and members of the legal profession. The Royal Court sits either as the Inferior Number (judge and two jurats) or the Superior Number (judge and at least five jurats). Only the Superior Number can impose sentences of imprisonment of more than four years. The Superior Number also acts as a court of first appeal from the Inferior Number. Appeals from the Superior Number are heard by the Court of Appeal in which jurats do not sit.

The robes of jurats are red with black trim.

At public elections, Jurats customarily serve as autorisés to oversee polling and declare results.

List of Jurats of the Royal Court of Jersey

In order of seniority:

  • Jurat John de Veulle OBE, Lieutenant Bailiff
  • Jurat Sally Le Brocq, Lieutenant Bailiff
  • Jurat John Tibbo
  • Jurat Roy Bullen MBE
  • Jurat John Le Breton
  • Jurat Geoffrey Allo
  • Jurat Jill Clapham
  • Jurat Lorna King MBE
  • Jurat Stan Le Cornu
  • Jurat Peter Morgan
  • Jurat Mary Newcombe
  • Jurat John Liddiard

Guernsey

In Guernsey, the Jurats are still elected by the States of Election, made up of the Island's judiciary, Law Officers and Anglican clergy.

The Royal Court of Guernsey sits either as the Ordinary Court (Bailiff or Deputy Bailiff and two jurats) or the Full Court (Bailiff or Deputy Bailiff and seven jurats).

The robes of jurats are purple (although the precise shade has varied).

Alderney

The court of Alderney consists of six Jurats (appointed by the Crown) and a Chairman.

References

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