The Crown Dependencies are possessions of the Crown, very similar to British overseas territories but with a technically different relationship to the United Kingdom. They are not part of the United Kingdom but Parliament is able to impose legislation on them if it chooses.
There are three Crown Dependencies:
The former two are together known as the Channel Islands, in the English Channel of the coast of Normandy. The Isle of Man is a single island in the Irish Sea. All three Crown dependencies are members of the British–Irish Council.
Each crown dependency has an autonomous legislature, the States of Guernsey, the States of Jersey and the Tynwald in the Isle of Man, and any law passed locally requires the assent of the Crown given in the Privy Council.
The crown dependencies
Since 1290, the Channel Islands have been governed as two separate Bailiwicks; Jersey and Guernsey, each headed by a Bailiff, with a Lieutenant Governor representing the Crown in each Bailiwick.
The Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey each have their own legal and healthcare systems, and their own separate immigration policies, with "local status" in one Bailiwick having no jurisdiction in the other. The two Bailiwicks 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.
The Isle of Man is geographically separate and has a separate history, dating back to its time as an independent Norse kingdom and several centuries as a lordship held by the Lord of Man, until the lordship was bought by the Crown in the nineteenth century.
Each crown dependency uses the pound sterling, though each issues its own coins. Each has other marks of autonomous status, for example its own international vehicle registration and internet Top Level Domain and so forth.
Bailiwick of Guernsey
- Main article: Bailiwick of Guernsey
The Bailiwick of Guernsey contains many islands. It also contains two islands with their own autonomous status with in the bailiwick:
The parliament of Guernsey is the States of Guernsey. The parliament of Sark is called the Chief Pleas, and the parliament of Alderney is called the States of Alderney.
Bailiwick of Jersey
- Main article: Bailiwick of Jersey
The Bailiwick of Jersey consists of the Island of Jersey and several uninhabited islands.
The parliament is the States of Jersey, the first known mention of which is in a document of 1497.
Isle of Man
- Main article: Isle of Man
The Isle of Man's Tynwald claims to be the world's oldest parliament in continuous existence, dating back to 979; only Iceland Althing claims precedence, founded in 930, though the Alþing was abolished and had to be re-established. Tynwald 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".
There is a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister.
The Isle of Man, unlike the other Crown Dependencies, has a Common Purse Agreement with the United Kingdom and charges VAT as part of a common system with the United Kingdom.
Relationship with the Crown
In each Crown dependency, the monarch is represented by a Lieutenant Governor, but this post is largely ceremonial. In 2010 it was announced that the next Lieutenant Governors of each Crown Dependency would be recommended to the Crown by a panel in each respective Crown Dependency, thus replacing the previous system of the appointments being made by the Crown on the recommendation of the Home Office.
All legislation by a Crown Dependency requires the approval of the Queen in Council; in effect the Privy Council in London. 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. Much legislation, in practice, is effected by means of secondary legislation under the authority of prior laws or Orders in Council.
Guernsey and Jersey
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, which thus left Normandy and England personally united.
In 1204 the title and lands of the Duchy of Normandy and his other French possessions were stripped from King John of England by the King of France. The Channel Islands however remained in King John's possession. King Henry III of England renounced the title of Duke of Normandy by Treaty of Paris in 1259, but retained the Channel Islands, as French fiefs until the Hundred Years' War, during which they were definitively separated from France.
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 Jersey, the Channel Islands were given the right to set their own customs duties, referred to by the Jersey Legal French term as impôts.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man was a Norse kingdom. In time the kings assumed the title Lord of Mann and gave allegiance to the kings of Scotland and later of England. The title Lord of Mann descended through a number of families until it was bought from John, Duke of Atholl and vested in the Crown in 1765. The Queen bears the title locally of "Queen and Lord of Mann".
- Mollet, Ralph (1954). A Chronology of Jersey. Jersey: Société Jersiaise.
- Balleine's History of Jersey, Marguerite Syvret and Joan Stevens (1998) ISBN 1-86077-065-7
- Report on This is Jersey
- Report on This is Guernsey
- Jersey Law | Jersey Law Review | October 1997 | The Sources Of Jersey Law