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Channel Islands Court Records

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Court Records[edit | edit source]

Research use: They are used to show relationships and to support the information that is listed in the other records.

Record type: Court records for Cour de Catel, Cour d'Heritage, Cour du Samedi and La Cour Royale, Curia Regis.

Time period: 1500's - Present.

Contents: Names of individuals; location of property; land transactions; and relationships.

Location: Royal Court, Jersey and The Greffe, Royal Court, Guernsey, Channel Islands.

Population coverage: 30%.

Reliability: Very good as these records were recorded in a court of law.[1]

Court Records Available Through Jersey Heritage[edit | edit source]

Source: Jersey Heritage: Court Records Includes Search Engine

Criminal Courts: The earliest criminal courts were the Cour du Samedi and Cour de Cattel, where records exist from 1504. The Poursuite Criminelles court was established in 1797 for criminal cases and also contains details of inquests from 1806. Poursuite Criminelles records are closed for 100 years. Records from the Poursuite Criminelles are being indexed and images placed online for each case. The Ecclesiastical Court was responsible for trying people who were accused of ‘moral crimes’ e.g. adultery from 1557.

Samedi Court – General Business Court: The Samedi Court is the general business court in the island and covers a wide range of matters. These include bankruptcy records, naturalisations, deed polls, licensing and professional registrations.

Cours d’Héritage: The Cours d’Héritage records date from 1505. The Court dealt with cases relating to title to real property, the ownership immoveable property and its division on intestacy, the annulment of hereditary contracts and boundary disputes. Originally held three times a year the court was reduced to two sittings in 1771 and to one in the 1980s. The Court still sits largely for ceremonial purposes.

Magistrates Court: The Magistrates Court consisting of the Causes Civiles and Causes Criminelles is concerned with civil and criminal matters of a less serious nature dating from 1854 and have a closure period of 100 years. The Magistrates Court is also responsible for the Youth and Petty Debts Courts. Petty Debts records begin in 1968 and previous records of this nature can be found in the Cour du Billet which ran from 1646 – 1964.

Probate Division: The Judicial Greffe collection includes all Wills and Testaments of moveable property from 1660 – 1989. These provide useful information such as names of family members and details of the division of property and possessions. Probate also gives date and place of death.

Public Registry: The Public Registry was instituted in 1602 to record all transactions of immovable property such as land and houses. These records are invaluable for House History research and can be accessed at Jersey Archive through a bespoke database called PRIDE.

Family Division: The Family Division records date from 1950 and concern divorce, adoption and family matters. The records are subject to closure periods of 75 and 100 years.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Channel Islands,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1990-1998.