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United Kingdom: Dependencies of the Crown

Last modified: 2011-05-21 by rob raeside
Keywords: united kingdom | channel islands | isle of man | guernsey | jersey |
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Like the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man has an interesting constitutional position. They are not part of the UK but are dependencies of the English Crown. Effectively, they are independent states in most matters. The Manx Parliament, Tynwald, was established by Norse Vikings over 1000 years ago and is the oldest functioning parliamentary democracy in the world.
Stuart A. Notholt, 1 March 1996

Constitutionally, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are dependencies of the Crown - they are not, and never have been, crown colonies. Confusingly, the remaining British crown colonies are now called "dependent territories".
Stuart A. Notholt
, 1 March 1996

Jersey and Guernsey are separate bailiwicks (i.e. a place administered by a bailiff). They are crown dependencies of the British monarch but are neither part of the United Kingdom nor colonies of the UK. Their constitutions are semi-feudal with the bailiff (a Crown appointee) heading the States (legislature) and Royal Court of each island. In addition both islands have a Lieutenant-Governor who is the Crown's representative on the island and commander-in-chief.

Strictly speaking, they are the part of the Duchy of Normandy that remained under the English Crown - when islanders toast the monarch they do so as "The Queen, our Duke" and they sometimes speak of England being a dependency of theirs, rather than the other way round! There is also a lot of mostly good-natured rivalry between the islands. It is said that "Red sky at night is a Guernseyman's delight" - because he thinks Jersey is on fire ...
Roy Stilling
, 14 March 1996