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Flag of Guernsey
Flag of Sark
Flag of Herm
Flag of Alderney
The Channel Islands fall into two separate self-governing bailiwicks, the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. Both are British Crown Dependencies, and neither is part of the United Kingdom. They have been part of the Duchy of Normandy since the 10th century and Queen Elizabeth II is often referred to by her traditional and conventional title of Duke of Normandy. However, pursuant to the Treaty of Paris (1259), she governs in her right as The Queen (the "Crown in right of Jersey", and the "Crown in right of the république of the Bailiwick of Guernsey"), and not as the Duke. This notwithstanding, it is a matter of local pride for monarchists to treat the situation otherwise: the Loyal Toast at formal dinners is to 'The Queen, our Duke', rather than to 'Her Majesty, The Queen' as in the UK.
A bailiwick is a territory administered by a Bailiff. Although the words derive from a common root ('bail' = 'to give charge of') there is a vast difference between the meaning of the word 'bailiff' (English) and 'Bailiff' (CI). (The former is a court appointed private debt-collector authorised to collect judgment debts, while the latter is the most important citizen within his or her Bailwick.) The Bailiff in each Bailiwick is the civil head, presiding officer of the States, and also head of the judiciary.
In the early part of the twenty-first century, the existence of governmental offices such as the Bailiffs' which incorporate multiple roles straddling the different branches of Government came under increased scrutiny for their apparent contravention of the doctrine of separation of powers—most notably in the Guernsey case of McGonnell -v- United Kingdom (2000) 30 EHRR 289 which following final judgement at the European Court of Human Rights became part of the impetus for much recent constitutional change, particularly the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (2005 c.4) in the UK itself, including the separation of the roles of the Lord Chancellor, the abolition of the House of Lords' judicial role, and its replacement by the UK Supreme Court. The Islands' Bailiffs however, still retain their historic roles.
The systems of government in the Islands date from Norman times, which accounts for the names of the legislatures, the States, derived from the Norman 'États' or 'estates' (i.e. the Crown, the Church, and the people). The States have evolved over the centuries into democratic parliaments.
Each island has its own primary legislature, known as the States of Guernsey and the States of Jersey, with Chief Pleas in Sark and the States of Alderney - the Channel Islands are not represented in the UK Parliament. Laws passed by the States are given Royal Assent by The Queen in Council, to whom the islands' governments are responsible.
The islands are not part of the European Union, but are part of the Customs Territory of the European Community by virtue of Protocol Three to the Treaty on European Union. In September 2010, a Channel Islands Brussels Office was set up jointly by the two Bailiwicks to develop the Channel Islands' influence with the EU, to advise the Channel Islands' governments on European matters, and to promote economic links with the EU.
Both Bailiwicks are members of the British-Irish Council, and Jèrriais and Guernésiais are recognised regional languages of the Isles.
The legal courts are separate; separate courts of appeal have been in place since 1961. Among the legal heritage from Norman law is the Clameur de Haro.
Islanders are full British citizens, and therefore European citizens. Any British citizen who applies for a passport in Jersey or Guernsey receives a passport bearing the words "British Islands, Bailiwick of Jersey" or "British Islands, Bailiwick of Guernsey". Under the provisions of Protocol Three, Channel Islanders who do not have a close connection with the UK (no parent or grandparent from the UK, and have never been resident in the UK for a five-year period) do not automatically benefit from the EU provisions on free movement within the EU and their passports receive an endorsement to that effect. This affects only a minority of islanders.
Under the UK Interpretation Act 1978, the Channel Islands are deemed to be part of the British Islands, not to be confused with the British Isles. For the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1981, the “British Islands” include the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland), the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, taken together, unless the context otherwise requires.
Read more about this topic: Transport In The Channel Islands
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