Crown dependency: Wikis

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The Isle of Man is situated in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland, and the bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey are situated in the English Channel to the west of the Cotentin

The Crown Dependencies are possessions of The Crown in Right of the United Kingdom, as opposed to overseas territories or colonies of the United Kingdom. They comprise the Channel Island bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.

Being independently administered jurisdictions, none forms part of the United Kingdom or of the European Union. All three Crown dependencies are members of the British-Irish Council. From 2005, each Crown dependency has a Chief Minister as head of government. However, as they are possessions of the British Crown they are not sovereign nations in their own right, and the power to pass legislation affecting the islands rests ultimately with their own legislative assemblies, with the assent of the Crown (Privy Council).[1]

These Crown dependencies, together with the United Kingdom, are collectively known as the British Islands. They are treated as part of the United Kingdom for British nationality law purposes. However, they maintain local controls over housing and employment which apply to British citizens without specified connections to that dependency (as well as to non-British citizens).

Each Island has its own separate international vehicle registration (GBG – Guernsey, GBA – Alderney, GBJ – Jersey, GBM – Isle of Man), internet domain (.gg – Guernsey, .je – Jersey, .im – Isle of Man), and ISO 3166-2 codes, first reserved on behalf of the Universal Postal Union (GGY – Guernsey, JEY – Jersey, IMN – Isle of Man) and then added officially by the International Organization for Standardization on 29 March 2006. In addition, since 2008 the Isle of Man has used the aircraft registration M-.


Crown Dependencies

Jersey and Guernsey have their own legal and healthcare systems as well as their own separate immigration policies with "local status" in one Bailiwick having no jurisdiction in the other. They exercise bilateral double taxation treaties. Since 1961 the Bailiwicks have had separate courts of appeal, but generally the Bailiff of each Bailiwick has been appointed to serve on the panel of appellate judges for the other Bailiwick.

Bailiwick of Guernsey

The Bailiwick of Guernsey includes the island of Guernsey, the island of Sark, the island of Alderney, Herm and the other islands. The parliament is the States of Guernsey.

Within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, autonomy is exercised by Sark, a feudal (but democratising) state under the Seigneur, whose legislature is called the Chief Pleas, and by Alderney, whose legislature is also called the States, under an elected President.

Guernsey issues its own coins and banknotes:

These circulate freely in both Bailiwicks alongside UK coinage and English and Scottish banknotes. They are not legal tender within the UK, but are often accepted anyway.

There are few political parties: candidates generally stand for election as independents.

Bailiwick of Jersey

The Bailiwick of Jersey consists of the Island of Jersey and its uninhabited dependencies.

The parliament is the States of Jersey. The States of Jersey Law 2005 introduced the post of Chief Minister of Jersey, abolished the Bailiff's power of dissent to a resolution of the States and the Lieutenant Governor's power of veto over a resolution of the States, established that any Order in Council or Act of the United Kingdom that it is proposed may apply to Jersey shall be referred to the States in order that the States may signify their views on it.[2]

Jersey issues its own coins and banknotes:

These circulate freely in both Bailiwicks alongside UK coinage and English and Scottish banknotes. They are not legal tender within the UK.

There are few political parties as candidates generally stand for election as independents (but see List of political parties in Jersey).

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man's Tynwald claims to be the world's oldest parliament in continuous existence, dating back to 979. (However it does not claim to be the oldest parliament, as Iceland's Althing dates back to 930.) It consists of a popularly elected House of Keys and an indirectly elected Legislative Council, which may sit separately or jointly to consider pieces of legislation, which, when passed into law, are known as "Acts of Tynwald". Candidates often stand for election as independents, rather than being selected by political parties. There is a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister.

The Isle of Man issues its own coins and banknotes:

These circulate freely alongside UK coinage and English and Scottish banknotes.

Isle of Man Post issues its own stamps and makes significant revenue from the sale of special issues to collectors.

Relationship with the Crown

In each Crown dependency, the British monarch is represented by a Lieutenant Governor, but this post is largely ceremonial. In 2005, it was decided in the Isle of Man to replace the Lieutenant Governor with a Crown Commissioner, but this decision was reversed before it was implemented.

All "insular" legislation has to receive the approval of the "Queen in Council", in effect, the Privy Council in London, with a UK minister being the Privy Councillor with responsibility for the Crown dependencies. Certain types of domestic legislation in the Isle of Man, however, may be signed into law by the Lieutenant Governor using delegated powers without having to pass through the Privy Council. In Jersey, provisional legislation of an administrative nature may be adopted by means of triennial regulations (renewable after three years) without requiring the assent of the Privy Council.[3] Much legislation, in practice, is effected by means of secondary legislation under the authority of prior laws or Orders in Council.

Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are part of the territory annexed by the Duchy of Normandy in 933 from the Duchy of Brittany. This territory was added to the grant of land given in settlement by the King of France in 911 to the Viking raiders who had sailed up the Seine almost to the walls of Paris.

William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, claimed the title King of England in 1066 following the death of Edward the Confessor and secured the claim through the Norman conquest of England.

Subsequent marriages between Kings of England and French nobles meant that Kings of England had title to more French lands than the King of France. When the King of France asserted his feudal right of patronage, the then-King of England, King John, fearing he would be imprisoned should he attend, failed to fulfill his obligation.

In 1204 the title and lands of the Duchy of Normandy and his other French possessions was stripped from King John of England by the King of France. The Channel Islands remained loyal to the "rightful" Duke, the King of England.

At no time since or before did the Channel Islands form part of the Kingdom of England, and no subsequent order was given to bring them into a union as was done subsequently between the Kingdoms of Scotland and England, and with the Kingdom of Ireland in 1801. Feudal responsibilities remain to Elizabeth II by right of her position as "Duke of Normandy" as apposed to her position as Queen.[4] The title "Duke" is today used irrespective of the sex of the person who holds it.[5]

A unique constitutional position has arisen as successive monarchs have confirmed the liberties and privileges of the Bailiwicks, often referring to the so-called Constitutions of King John, a legendary document supposed to have been granted by King John in the aftermath of 1204. Governments of the Bailiwicks have generally tried to avoid testing the limits of the unwritten constitution by avoiding conflict with British governments.

Following the restoration of King Charles II, who had spent part of his exile in the Island of Jersey, the Channel Islands were further given the right to set their own customs duties, referred to by the Jersey Legal French term as impôts.

Isle of Man

In the Isle of Man the British monarch is Lord of Mann, a title variously held by Norse, Scottish and English kings and nobles (the English nobles in feudality to the English Crown) until it was revested into the British Crown in 1765. The title "Lord" is today used irrespective of the sex of the person who holds it.

Relationship with the UK

The British Government is solely responsible for defence and international representation (however, in accordance with 2007 framework agreements,[6] the UK has undertaken not to act internationally on behalf of the Crown dependencies without prior consultation). Each Crown dependency has responsibility for its own customs and immigration services. Until 2001, the Home Office had responsibility for the Crown dependencies, but this was transferred to the Lord Chancellor's Department, then the Department for Constitutional Affairs, and today the Ministry of Justice.

Acts of the British Parliament do not usually apply to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, unless explicitly stated, and even this is increasingly rare. When deemed advisable, Acts of Parliament may be extended to the Islands by means of an 'Order in Council', and normally the agreement of their administrations would be sought first. An example of this was the Television Act 1954, which was extended to the Channel Islands, so as to create a local ITV franchise, known as Channel Television.

Westminster retains the right to legislate for the Islands against their will as a last resort, but this is also rarely exercised, and may according to legal opinion from the Attorney-General of Jersey have fallen into desuetude — although this argument was not accepted by the Department for Constitutional Affairs (The Marine, Etc., Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967 was one recent piece of legislation extended to the Isle of Man against the wishes of the Manx Parliament).

The States of Jersey Law 2005 established that all Acts of the United Kingdom and Orders in Council are to be referred to the States, and gave greater freedom of action to Jersey in international affairs.

In recent years, with the development of finance industries and the increasing inter-dependence of the modern world, the Islands have been more active in international relations, concluding treaties and signing conventions with other states separately from the UK. Such treaties are typically on matters such as tax, finance, environment, trade and other questions except defence and international representation. The UK has in recent years, however, agreed to the Channel Islands negotiating directly with the French government on topics such as French nuclear activities in the region as this is a matter on which the UK government holds a view so at odds with the views of the governments of the Bailiwicks that it felt unable to continue to represent the Islands itself.

However, the constitutional and cultural proximity of the Islands to the UK means that there are shared institutions and organisations. The BBC has local radio stations in the Channel Islands, and a web site run by a team based on the Isle of Man, and while the Islands took over responsibility for their own post and telecommunications, they continue to participate in the UK telephone numbering plan and the Islands have adapted their postcode systems to be compatible with the UK.

Relationship with the EU

Certain aspects of membership of the European Union apply to the Crown Dependencies, by association of the United Kingdom's membership, governed by Article 299(6)(c) of the Treaty establishing the European Community:

this Treaty shall apply to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man only to the extent necessary to ensure the implementation of the arrangements for those islands set out in the Treaty concerning the accession of new Member States to the European Economic Community and to the European Atomic Energy Community signed on 22 January 1972.;

and by Protocol 3 to the UK's Act of Accession to the Community:[7]

An Act to make provision in connection with the enlargement of the European Communities to include the United Kingdom, together with (for certain purposes) the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar. [17 October 1972]"

The islands take part in the EU freedom of movement of goods but not people, services or capital. The Channel Islands (as they were defined in 1972, when UK joined the European Communities, now Jersey and Guernsey) are outside the VAT area (since they have no VAT), while the Isle of Man is inside it.[8] Both areas are inside the customs union.[9]

Channel Islanders and Manx people are British citizens and hence European citizens.[10] However, they are not entitled to take advantage of the freedom of movement of people or services unless they are directly connected (through birth, descent from a parent or grandparent, or five years' residence) with the United Kingdom.[11]

The common agricultural policy does not apply to the Crown Dependencies. Their citizens do not take part in elections to the European Parliament.

See also


  1. ^ "Profile of Jersey". States of Jersey. Retrieved 2008-07-31. "The legislature passes primary legislation, which requires approval by The Queen in Council, and enacts subordinate legislation in many areas without any requirement for Royal Sanction and under powers conferred by primary legislation."  
  3. ^ Jersey Law | Jersey Law Review | October 1997 | The Sources Of Jersey Law
  4. ^ "Royal Insight October 2003". The official website of the British Monarchy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-23.  
  5. ^ "Royal Insight January 2007". The official website of the British Monarchy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-23.  
  6. ^ International Relations - Jersey and UK agree framework for developing Jersey’s international identity
  7. ^ European Communities Act 1972
  8. ^ Article 6 of Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 (as amended) on the common system of value added tax (OJ L 347, 11.12.2006, p. 1)
  9. ^ Article 3(1) of Council Regulation 2913/92/EEC of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code (as amended) (OJ L 302, 19.10.1992, p. 1-50)
  10. ^ s 1 of the British Nationality Act 1981 grants citizenship to (most) people born in the 'United Kingdom'. s 50 of the Act defines the 'United Kingdom' to include the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
  11. ^ Protocol 3 of the United Kingdom's succession treaty to the EU (OJ L 73, 27.03.1972).

External links

Simple English

, Jersey and Guernsey]] A British crown dependency is a special type of state. The head of state is the British monarch, who is represented by a Lieutenant-Governor. Each dependency has a parliament, government and prime minister to make all laws, except laws about defence and foreign affairs. Defence and foreign affairs are looked after by the British Government.

But the British government in London has no power in the dependencies, unless the government of the dependency agrees.

Some colonies also have a government, but they were created by the British government and can be ended by the British government.

The crown dependencies are

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