Masters of the Bench
Sir William Bailhache, Bailiff of Jersey
Full Title: Sir William Bailhache, Bailiff of JerseyCategory: Ordinary Bencher
Bench Call Date: 27.10.2015
Call Date: 17.7.1975
William Bailhache was born in Jersey in 1953, educated at Charterhouse and Oxford University. He was admitted to the English Bar as a member of the Middle Temple in 1975 and to the Jersey Bar as an advocate in 1976. He was appointed as Her Majesty’s Attorney General for Jersey on 16th February, 2000 and later that year a Queen’s Counsel. He was appointed Deputy Bailiff of Jersey on 2nd November 2009, and took office as Bailiff of Jersey on 29th January 2015.
In private practice, he had become one of the island's leading litigators by 1983 and on the non-contentious side had a light commercial emphasis, acting for banks and other issuers of financial paper through the London Stock Exchange, as well as giving local advice across a wide spectrum and representing clients in the island’s courts. He acted both for and against government in a number of cases appearing in the Royal Court, Court of Appeal, and in the Privy Council. He acted in two high profile trust and commercial cases, appearing for the Plaintiff in the long running case of Abdel Rahman v Chase Bank & others, and for the American Endeavour Fund Limited in the Jersey litigation against Arthur Trueger and others between 1995 and 1997. He was regularly instructed by colleagues unfortunate enough to face negligence claims.
When Attorney General he represented the Crown in the Privy Council, with David Perry in Attorney General for Jersey v Holley 2005 JLR 275, where a 9 judge Privy Council used the Jersey case to settle (for a time) the law of provocation in England & Wales as well, and with David Farrer QC in Michel v Attorney General for Jersey 2009 JLR N 54; and he appeared for the United Kingdom (for the States of Jersey) in the European Court of Justice with Richard Plender QC in Jersey Produce Marketing Organisation Limited v States of Jersey 2005 JLR 513. He also represented the Island politically before the Human Rights Committee in the United Nations, in the early negotiations with the OECD in relation to the ‘harmful’ tax practices exercise, and the EU in relation to the tax package. He was Attorney General at the time of the major child abuse investigation in the Island 2008/9 and managed the prosecution process successfully at that difficult time.
As Deputy Bailiff and Bailiff he has presided in the Royal Court over a variety of criminal and civil cases, with a variety of subject matter. The diet approximates to 20% family and public law children cases, 25% criminal, 25% trust and commercial and the balance that mix of sundry contractual and customary law claims. He has given judgments on new matters before the Royal Court with such diverse subjects as the appropriate balance of a defendant’s Article 6 rights and the handling of vulnerable witnesses, the right of the Attorney to indict directly before the Royal Court, the rights of separated unmarried partners in property