Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Monday, 29 December 2008

Sark's presidential role analysed

Sark's new wholly democratic government will sit in January

Sark's new government will consider the future role of the island's president at its first meeting in the new year.

The Seneschal currently acts as senior judge in the island, as well as presiding over the work of Chief Pleas.

It has been proposed that the General Purposes and Advisory Committee should examine the dual role of the position and report its findings to Chief Pleas.

The government will consider the matter in a report to the Chief Pleas on 21 January.

Privy Council

Following consultation with the Conseillers Elect, it has been decided that Sark should not intervene in the case between the Barclay brothers and the UK Privy Council in relation to the dual role of the Seneschal.

The Barclay twins had wanted Sark's democratic reforms to go further than they did and for the hereditary status of the Seigneur (lord) and Seneschal (chief judge and president of the Chief Pleas) to be abolished.

However, the majority of candidates they had backed for Sark's new 28-member Chief Pleas failed to win election on 10 December.

Just under 90% of those eligible to vote turned out for the island's first election to choose a democratic government for nearly 450 years.

The Privy Council had approved the reforms of Sark's government, including retaining the dual role of the Seneschal.

But the Appeal Court in London ruled earlier this month that the dual role of seneschal breached human rights after a case was brought by the brothers.

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