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Crown dependency

Crown dependencies are possessions of the British Crown, as opposed to overseas territories or colonies. They include the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. None form part of the United Kingdom, being separate jurisdictions, nor do they form part of the European Union, instead having associate member status.

Table of contents
1 Relationship with the Crown
2 Relationship with the UK
3 Systems of Government
4 External Links
5 See Also

Relationship with the Crown

The Channel Islands were once part of the Duchy of Normandy in France, at the time when England came under Norman conquest in 1066, but were ceded to the English Crown when the rest of Normandy was lost in 1295.

In the Isle of Man the British monarch is Lord of Mann, a title variously held by Norse, Scots and English kings until it passed to the British monarch in 1765.

In each Crown Dependency, the British monarch is represented by a Lieutenant Governor, but this post is largely ceremonial.

Relationship with the UK

The British Government is solely responsible for defence and international affairs, although each island has responsibility for its own customs and immigration. Until 2001, the Home Office had responsibility for the Crown Dependencies, but this was transferred to the Lord Chancellor's Department, now called the Department of Constitutional Affairs.

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.

Acts of the British Parliament do not apply to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, unless explicitly stated, and even this is increasingly rare. Usually, Acts of Parliament are extended to the Islands by means of an 'Order in Council', and only then with the agreement of their administrations. An example of this was the Television Act of 1954, which was extended to the Channel Islands, so as to create a local Independent Television ITV franchise, known as Channel Television. Westminster retains the right to legislate for the Islands as a last resort, but this is also rarely, if ever, exercised.

However, the relative proximity of the Islands to the UK means that there are many shared institutions and organisations. The BBC has local radio stations and television programmes in the Channel Islands, though not the Isle of Man, and while the Islands took over responsibility for their own post and telecommunications, postal deliveries and telephone calls between them, and the UK, are still treated as domestic. However, each Island has its own internet domain, (.gg - Guernsey, .je - Jersey, .im - Isle of Man) and international vehicle registration, (GBG - Guernsey, GBJ - Jersey, GBM - Isle of Man)

Systems of Government

Channel Islands

In the Channel Islands, the system of government dates from Norman times, which accounts for the name of the legislature, the States, derived from the Norman French Etats or 'estates'. There are no political parties in the sense that they exist in the UK or elsewhere, as candidates stand for election as independents. There is no system of cabinet or ministerial government, as government responsibilities are exercised by Committees of the States. The presiding officer of the States is the Bailiff, who is also head of the judiciary. This accounts for the official references to either Island, as the Bailiwick.

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man's Tynwald' is the world's oldest parliament in continuous existence, dating back to 979. 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 stand for election as independents, rather than being selected by political parties. There is a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister.

External Links

See Also